Have we missed it?
I know we say that Christmas is all about God’s story, but do we truly believe that? Or do our actions speak otherwise? Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good ol’ 1950s nostalgic Americana Christmas as much as the next guy, but maybe we’ve majored on the minors just a little too much; taken things a bit too far. I’m not so much concerned about the obvious outward trappings; presents, Santa, parties and the oh-so painful white elephant gift exchange. I’m totally in on all of those things (except maybe the gift exchange … I don’t appreciate or need your hand-me-down trash gift from last summer’s garage sale, Karen!) I’m more concerned about what’s happening in our hearts; what are we missing? What have we sacrificed on the altar of cultural Christmas? Isn’t there more? Isn’t there something that brings significant meaning to the rest of it? Maybe we’re missing the discipline of thoughtfulness, the art of reflection or the practice of presence. If we are to truly experience the wonder of Christmas, we have to look inward first and then move out.
It’s so easy to focus on the obvious Christmas traditions and forget to practice presence; the work of slowing down and remembering why we do this whole thing in the first place. The perfect God of the Universe saw the brokenness in His world, decided that it couldn’t be fixed by any of us, incarnated Himself into the Son, Jesus, and then began the greatest rescue expedition of all time. Rescue begins at Christmas. Hope begins at Christmas. Just as Mary did, we should ponder these things in our hearts.
Take a breath.
Take a deeper breath.
Ask God to meet us where we are.
Rescue has come. It came through Jesus and it comes again every morning with new grace and mercies. As the sun rises thank God for the Christmas story; thank Him that we have hope because He became hope. Practice presence today. Remember the kingdom of God is not a switch to be flipped, but a seed to be planted. Water that seed and don’t miss what God has for you in the moments when you slow down and mediate on Him. Consecrate this season to the Lord and let His story bring meaning to all your relationships, parties, gifts and meals … but not the gift exchange — there is no hope for the gift exchange.
Take a few moments to read Psalm 89. Practice presence as you read the scriptures. Ask God to meet you in this moment and to remind you of His faithfulness and goodness in your life. Let His Word bring significant meaning to your Christmas celebrations and traditions.