A No Screen Christmas

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Joseph didn’t hear of Mary’s pregnancy through social media, and he didn’t use GPS maps to find his way to Bethlehem. No texts let the shepherds (who were also not playing video games while their sheep grazed or slept) know where the Christ babe lay. No Instagram pictures or Facebook pages told the wise men where to look for the Messiah. No alerts warned them about Herod’s intentions. And Joseph didn’t use a smart phone to tell him he needed to travel to Egypt to keep Jesus safe. Christmas morning was a family quietly celebrating a new addition with no wi-fi in a very humble setting. Nor would there be tablets in his early years (nor even in his teen years) set up on a stroller or dining table over-stimulating him.

All this happened without screens. Seems impossible. But it happened through God, angels, visions in dreams, stars. In fact, if there were screens, those involved in the beginning of the biggest transformational revolution in the world might have missed the announcement, the singing, the celebration, the signs, the warnings, the way. They would’ve been looking down at the artificial glow and missed the true light. But that didn’t happen. No screens disconnected them from God and from each other.

Are we going to miss the Christ? Are we going to put a screen between us and God, between us and ourselves, between us and others, between us and life? Because that’s what’s happening. Who is going to stop the biggest threat to our well-being? Can you be part of the change to reconnect?

Christmas is a perfect time to put the screens away since it’s a time of togetherness. By the way, sitting next to each other looking down at the smart phones in your hands is NOT togetherness. It’s not connection, and we need connection simply to exist.

Christmas gives us the space to experience a true connection with the Christ—to feel the Christ-with-us first hand. Jesus demonstrated the impact of true connection. He connected with others by joyously serving them, unselfishly loving them. He connected one-on-one. He met them, touched them, talked with them, looked at them, lifted them up, and even knew what they were thinking in their hearts. He even connected with multitudes.

Jesus connected with their God-given identities. He could see the perfection in them when others just saw a sinner, or a blind man, or a bowed woman, or a leper, or a cripple. It was Jesus’ seeing their innate wholeness and helping them connect with this Godlike vision of themselves that resulted in healing.

There are so many opportunities to connect without screens: as you’re getting a Christmas tree, driving in the car, decorating your home, going shopping, undoing grocery bags, eating dinner together, wrapping gifts, baking desserts, practicing for a performance or Christmas pageant, taking toys to kids in need, playing in the snow, walking the dog. The opportunities are endless. Let’s find them.

  • See what happens when you talk with your family at dinner. Look at each other when you talk. Make eye contact.
  • Learn something new about someone you’ve known for a long time and someone you’ve just met. Ask questions.
  • Play a board game or charades with your friends and family.
  • Invent a new family tradition or make an old tradition more meaningful.
  • Ask your grandparents what they did for Christmas and write it down.
  • Read the Christmas story together and find out the differences between the gospels—and the significance of those differences.
  • Laugh together everyday. Don’t miss a single day to laugh with your family.

Of course, true connections with others begins with a strong connection with God—understanding the infinite love that God has for us and the infinite blessings God is giving us. Once we get that, then we can share the Christ love with others, so that they, too, can feel blessed by the Christ spirit.