How many times has this happened to you?
You envision a spectacular or even magical holiday moment, the big dinner, gift opening, driving around looking at Christmas lights singing carols and exchanging “I love yous” with your family and then, when the moment actually happens … it’s a big ol’ fail. The turkey is dry, someone cries over the gift you thought they’d love and during the drive someone spills their hot chocolate everywhere and there’s yelling and you have to head to the nearest gas station for cleanup.
I know I put a ton of weight on these special moments that we are supposed to do in order to make the most of the season. Then, when they don’t live up to the hype, I’m left with a feeling of disappointment.
But I have an idea, or a lesson, I suppose, that could help fix this. It’s the story of Heinrich Schliemann, a German businessman and archaeologist. He was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer. Yes, THAT Homer that you read about in high school.
In the 1870s he set his sights on the area of Turkey believed to be Troy of the Iliad. As you can imagine, archaeology looked a little different in the mid-19th century. Add the fact that Schliemann was reckless (to put it mildly) and what you get is nine levels of remains excavated with dynamite.
What does an amateur archaeologist with a penchant for ancient Greek literature and an itchy trigger finger have to do with you and your Christmas expectations? Well, get this: Schliemann found what he believed were the jewels that once belonged to Helen of Troy. As it turns out, these jewels were 1000 years older than the time described in Homer’s story. In archaeology speak, “older” equals “deeper.” So the actual Troy would’ve been in the levels he went all Wile E. Coyote on.
What moments have you passed by, or even destroyed, in the search for what you mistook as the treasure? If the treasure of Christmas is love, joy, and Jesus, then why not embrace it in the early morning snuggles with a sleepy-eyed kiddo? Why not meet a friend for coffee instead of scurrying around for a gift that will probably end up in a closet, or worse, the garbage? When we barrel through Advent and Christmas because of over-scheduling and over-expecting, we lose the moments that are right in our hands.
So next time you feel pressure to unearth the treasure of a perfect holiday moment, think of Heinrich Schliemann, put down the dynamite and remember that the perfect moment to experience the love of Jesus is right here and now.
Copyright 2019 Abby Watts