|This printout is free and downloadable here.|
One more week until Christmas and I'm buzzing. I'm buzzing with some new found freedom amidst the craziness of this season. The last few weeks have been so rich with a few new epiphanies for me as I've been struggling through all the highs and low that Christmas can bring:
1. It's just stuff.
I'm so embarrassed to admit that I am the first one to be absorbed with the consumerism that surrounds Christmas. The minute I start my Christmas shopping, I start wanting things. Pretty, shiny, sparkly things. Things for myself. New things that shout at me when I'm supposed to be focused on giving to others. I get so consumed with myself and orchestrating the perfect Christmas list for myself to ensure that all my wants are fulfilled and I end the Christmas season with a gaping hole in myself that focus on stuff brings. I was walking through Target the other day and was coveting a thousand shiny new things and this overwhelming thought came over me- "It's just stuff. It shouldn't have this power over you." And I felt a burden lift from me. A freedom started to form - it's just stuff and I really don't need any of it. What a gift! Now to pray that I can maintain this posture throughout the year.
2. Time to reflect.
Every December I set out to create quiet time- time to meditate on the miracle and wonder of Christ coming to earth to set us free from ourselves. Every year December 25th comes and I have filled every possible minute with myself: parties, cookie baking, Christmas carding, list making, shopping. I've made an idol of my entertainment and haven't given Christ the prominence that worshiping Him demands. This year, I stumbled across two of the best centering items I could have found. An advent devotional: Dale and Jonalyn Fincher's Opening the Stable Door and Sufjan Stephen's Christmas album from long ago, "Songs for Christmas." The more I read and listen, the more I want of Christ and the less I feel the need to be so busy.
3. It's not over yet.
This is probably my favorite epiphany this season. I get the January blues BIG TIME. Christmas is over. The parties, the festivities, the cheer, the loving, the giving- it's all over and all we have left is a cold, dark, bleak month, full of dreariness because our wallets are empty and our bodies are sluggish from too much indulging. But if Christmas really is as powerful as it claims to be- if a tiny little baby was born and His birth pierced the dark, dark world and a shard of hope entered the world, then Christmas is not over after the 25th. In fact, it just begins in the new year. Christmas gives me new life for the year. As our pastor put it, the gospel reminds me that this life is not as good as it gets. Life is not "just the way it is," Christ gives me hope that this is not the way it's always going to be. One day my King will sit on His throne and right all that is wrong. He will forever pierce all darkness and rule over a city and a people who know no darkness, pain, or tears. If I really believe the gospel, December 26th can become a day of joy and peace. Emmanuel has come! God is with us! I can keep celebrating because I have a reason beyond gifting and feasting to be joyful.
**** The above printout is free and downloadable here. My prayer is that it will be an encouragement and a reminder of the hope that awaits us this season!! *****