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The Biggest Christmas Ever!


The Life Less Traveled


December 14, 2011
When I took out my trash tonight, I realized I needed more Christmas lights on my house. Our neighbors have more lights, but they have nice flat rooflines. Mine goes straight up to a peak like a medieval cathedral. Our house is tiny. It's just all roof. I have to change into my Spiderman costume just to get anything on the front of the house. I'd sworn off my Spidey tights for this year, but now? Now, I'm not so sure.

See, I have this problem, this urge, this compulsion, you might say. It's an unreasonable drive to try and top myself every Christmas, with my lights, with my presents, with everything. Each year I want to have the biggest and best Christmas ever. For some people, the movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" is a comedy. For me, it's a documentary.

But I'm not alone in my obsession. I checked out the "Guinness Book of World Records" website the other night just to discover some like-minded Christmas enthusiasts.

Did you know that the world record for the most lights ever strung on a tree stands at 150,000? I'm not even close to that. In fact, my tree looks like Charlie Brown's compared to the 170-foot tree in Brazil that holds the record for tallest artificial tree in the world. And our stockings? So lame. A group in Italy just made one last year that's 168 feet long from the top to the heel. That doesn't even include the toe. Oh, and how about snowmen? How can I hope to compete with the industrious townsfolk of Bethel, Maine, who built a 122-foot tall snow woman back in 2008? She had trees for arms, for crying out loud. Trees!

OK, so maybe you don't have to have the biggest tree or the most lights or the tallest snowman to have the biggest and best Christmas ever. Maybe Christmas isn't about the biggest and the best at all. Maybe it's actually about smallness, the smallness of a great, big God who made Himself tiny enough to fit in a manger.

So, in that light, I guess I need to re-evaluate what it means to have the biggest Christmas ever. Maybe, instead of topping last year's decorations and presents, I need to top myself in other ways. What if I focused on bigger faith, bigger hope and bigger love? What if I had bigger grace to offer the difficult people around me and bigger humility to admit when I'm the difficult person in their lives? Or how about bigger courage to do the crazy, risky things I know God's called me to do? Maybe it all comes down to trusting a bigger God who loved me enough to get little.

"Guinness Book of World Record" material? Maybe not. Best Christmas ever? Absolutely.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more, visit www.jasonbyerly.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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