I was thinking earlier that Jesus didn’t come so we could have a “Griswold Family Christmas” with the perfect tree, perfect family reunion, perfect meal. Of course, the Griswolds didn’t get that either, but Clark just kept on dreaming that they would.
So even though there are parts of that movie that are a little “mature” for my first-grader, I think the Griswolds’ story really does show what Christmas is all about–and what it can do to you.
In his quest for an over-the-top decorated house (indoors and out), a fabulous “cut your own tree” experience complete with carols all the way, and a terrific family dinner, Clark is trying, in his own way, to create something special for his family. He knows that Christmas is something special and he wants his family to know that too.
After all, Baby Jesus wasn’t born in a nice clean hospital with all the amenities. He came into the world in the humblest of circumstances, to parents who were basically homeless and probably social outcasts due to Mary’s pregnancy. He was laid in an animal’s feeding trough. That’s not the kind of cozy bed most moms envision for their children.
Similarly, Clark’s well-planned Griswold Family Christmas goes all awry due to snobby neighbors, crazy (and senile) relatives, technical difficulties with lights, extension cords, and squirrels in the tree, a discarded cigar and a misguided boss. But in the end he learns that what matters is that the whole family is together–mess or no mess. And that’s what’s important.
Baby Jesus didn’t come to bring us perfection here on earth. He came as an expression of the love the Father has for all of us. And he came to lead us to something better.