I’m sorry to confess:
I have a love-hate relationship
Even saying that I get a little antsy… please understand, I am a sold-out, full-blooded follower of Jesus Christ and there’s nothing I love to do more than worship Him. In all that I do this is my goal. Christmas is that and more to me — a string of days and weeks filled with moments of awe and wonder and worship.
At least…this is what I’m striving for.
And then comes the “hate” part…
….which is probably too strong a word for what really amounts to feelings of overwhelming frustration and anxiety. I really do love the wonder and the worship of this time of year, but I hate feeling so pushed and rushed and pressed and crushed by what the world wants me to do with Christmas.
I hate the pressures to perform and please shouting at me from every direction. It takes so much sincere, focused and sometimes exhausting effort to walk when the rest of the world is screaming “Run!” and so seldom are they running in the direction I
I need to go.
Let’s be clear here: I’m no super-sanctimonius Scrooge. I love the baking, the giving, the gifting, the crafting…the decorating and all that jazz. But these are all facets of this glittering jewel called Christmas. This is where the verse in 1 Corinthians 10:31 applies:
“So whether you eat or drink or
whatever you do,
do it all for the glory of God”
Do ALL. I mean there’s a REASON behind why
we’re doing these wonderful things, right?
Yes, I love Christmas.
I love it for all that it is in the highest and holiest sense
and what it is in the meekest, mildest and lowliest sense.
And I don’t want to hurry through it.
I don’t want to run right past it.
I did that for too many years.
And even though I’ve heard the story again and again, I still want to walk though it slowly and drink it all in. I want to read every inscription from the hand of God etched upon every scene:
the angels, the mission, the fear,
the journey, the inn, the star,
the shepherds, the wise men…
all with a tightly fixed focus centering upon the
pivot-point of human history:
Jesus, our Messiah.
I want to see Jesus.
I want others to see Him too…
So Christmas comes softly at my house, deliberately and gently –much like the way Jesus came to us 2000+ years ago.
Dawning slowly and intentionally; first comes the advent wreath and manger scene so we can begin to prepare our hearts and minds to allow Christ to set the pace and be our focus for the days to come. (After all, it’s HIS day!)
Then, about a week later the tree and other decorations inside and out will begin to take their places around our home.
So many of these are heirlooms passed on from my Mother In Law, Charlotte who loved Christmas and Jesus more than anyone else I know and now celebrates with the King Himself. Then the Christmas dishes and coffee cups will begin their rotation and the baking and gifting, making and sharing will begin…all building towards the high and holy Feast Day of Christian worship: Christmas. I don’t want to rush it…I want to enjoy
because I finally believe.
And I remember when it happened for me only 12 or so years ago. In the midst of a church service during Advent, Jesus showed up and I saw Him for the first time. I mean REALLY saw Him. Only the Jesus I saw wasn’t the one freeze-framed and pasty white lying in the manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes.
The Jesus I saw then and celebrate now is the One
who went through the manger to the cross …
because that’s why he came. (tweet)
The pieces of the story flew together and suddenly I saw how the Christmas celebration really can not find it’s focus or fulfillment in this season alone because after all, babies are born every day.
But Jesus wasn’t just another baby.
No, the focus for our Christmas celebration is found just two days past the cross when, after He suffered and died and was buried…..Jesus rose again! Jesus, paid the sacrifice for my sin, defeating satan and death….and (did you catch this?) Jesus rose again!
This is WHY we can and should celebrate at Christmas!
But it’s only a real celebration if we’ve taken our place in the whole story and only if Jesus has taken his place as Savior and Lord of our lives.
He was sent only to those who believe.
This Christmas I hope you will join me in this place and see slightly past the manger and through the cross to the empty tomb and celebrate!
I hope you will allow Christmas in all the wonder and majesty of the absolute miracle of His birth …to dawn softly, gently and quietly….and REALLY see Jesus maybe for the first time.
I hope you will believe and remember…
that the angels who announced His birth
to the shepherds and the wise men…
these same angels made one final announcement
to us right after He ascended into heaven:
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)