For the holiday season, we’ve decided to take a television fast.
We packed the 22-inch TV under the bed and put books where it once stood.
On Eliot’s 2nd birthday, we decided to rent two movies- Little Nemo and Monsters, Inc.
It had been coming to a head for a few weeks– a little show here, a little movie there…it was almost always an event to be shared, and it was Little Mozart or the Babies documentary or a Sesame Street video about heating healthy.
Then there was KungFu Panda.
The day after his birthday, Eliot woke up, a terror. He threw fits about watching a movie because we had created a morning tradition, a common habit. For families all over the world, it’s daily occurrence. For our family, it became a danger.
So we prayed and decided to put it away, which was especially difficult for me during Christmastime, my favorite of the year. I was giving up a tradition of wrapping presents and watching A Christmas Carol, I was giving up White Christmas and hot chocolate, and my favorite, The Family Stone.
Oh, but I’ve gained the world. We’ve gained the sweet Spirit of Advent. We’ve gained peace and clear minds.
We’re living our days without wondering what the characters from Parenthood or LOST might do in particular situations.
Our hearts are clear.
We’ve gotten dishes done and written syllabi. We’ve released an album and thought about what’s happening in the world– the real one with life and breath.
And how we’ve struggled!! One word from either of us and we would have given in– The Sound of Music, LIVE!?
But, to our surprise, we’ve restrained, and we’ve enjoyed peace.
The Spirit of the infant Christ is permeating, and we’re letting Him in, just a little more, every day. His presence and power is the same, but perhaps we’re able to see it, to feel it and cherish it more clearly.
Eliot is reading 20 library books before bed again and playing creatively with his toys. We’re playing instruments and singing songs. We’re living life on real terms, and not those made by a movie script.
We’ve baked Christmas cookies and banana bread and biscuits.
I’ve asked myself again and again how a little box can have so much control over a person; how such an escape can come with such a price. The truth is, what we watch and take in never really leaves.
And beyond that, I don’t know many answers.
But we needed this break, and while our house is still filled with Nat King Cole’s voice and Bing Crosby’s Christmas croon, it’s not filled with movie and TV marathons.
We needed this.
And we look to the New Year wondering whether the TV will come out or stay in its cave, even find itself a new home. I wonder whether I’ll enjoy I Love Lucy again or refrain a while longer.
This is what I know and cherish this Advent season: Jesus is coming, and my heart echoes the prayer of Adam of St. Victor:
What is this jewel that is so precious? I can see it has been quarried not by men, but by God. It is you, dear Jesus. You have been dug from the rocks of Heaven itself to be offered to me as a gift beyond price. You shine in the darkness. Every colour of the rainbow can be seen within You. The whole earth is bathed in Your light. Infant Jesus, by being born as man You have taken upon Yourself the pain of death. But such a jewel can never be destroyed. You are immortal. And by defying Your own death, You shall deliver me from death. Amen.