Christmas falling on a Sunday this year triggered a rare bout of selfish whining.

You see, we drive a long ways to church. It takes us an hour to get there, which means that on Sunday mornings we have to be out of the house(s) by 7:45 to make a 9am service. Most of the time, it doesn’t bother me. I deal with it. I enjoy church (most days) even though it’s rather like sticking your hand up and volunteering to be flogged. “Here I am, Lord! Where’s my weekly 2×4?” (If you attend a church where you are not constantly convicted and challenged – find another church.) But there’s just something about the notion of getting up so early on Christmas that got to me.

I’m not really a Christmas sort of person. I enjoy it, but it is not a Big Thing for me. It’s just another day, one in which you spend a lot of time with your relatives, eat too much good food, and then wind up going home sick of each other. But it is Christmas, right, and shouldn’t we be allowed to stay home on Christmas?

I thought about my tactics. I thought about suggesting we go on Christmas Eve, but that was swiftly shot down because our church isn’t having a proper service, instead a children’s program. I felt deflated when I found out, as my vision of kindly offering to walk the dog that morning, and my suggestion that we all have a Christmas brunch at the Big House went out the window. I knew that simply suggesting we not go was out of the question, because the Bishops never miss church. The few times we have, it’s because we’re all deathly ill or there’s too much snow on the ground for our four wheel drive to handle. God comes first in our household, rain, shine, other plans, or not.

Honorable as that may be, just for a minute, I felt annoyed by that.

And that’s when my weekly 2×4 arrived, ahead of schedule.

Christmas is, after all, not about presents, about sleeping in, about lying in bed and watching the movie you got as a present, about having cinnamon rolls at brunch, or even about spending time with your family.

Christmas is about Jesus.

It is an honor for me to get up early, shower in the dark, scarf down some breakfast, ride in the car an hour with the rest of the Bishop gang, and attend a church service that takes only a half an hour longer to sit through than our drive in did on Jesus’ Birthday. For mercy’s sake, the baby grew into a man and died so that I could have eternal life. Isn’t getting up early and attending church on a Sunday morning the least I can do to honor Him? Who do I think I am? What was I thinking, being selfish enough to want to cancel church on the one day a year when we should be there the most? Would I tell my best friend that I can’t make her birthday party because I’d rather sleep in? I think not.

Thank heavens for 2×4’s. Particularly those tied with a pretty red bow.