Is this what Christmas is all about?
I have four children under 17 living in my house and they were all home from school the week of Thanksgiving. What that means for me, besides having a huge mess and absolutely no food left in the house because they never stop eating when they are home, is that I’ve been privileged or persecuted by having to listen to hours of Disney channel and Nickelodeon “holiday” episodes on the TV.
Every episode follows the same pattern: start with a plot that one child or another wants a specific toy or fancy tree or vacation and they are going to set out to convince their parents to give them something no one can afford. In the middle comes the crisis when the kids are fighting, or the tree blows up or someone burns all the cookies and it ends with peaceful music, pretty lights, and everyone is suddenly happy and content. At that time, the characters gaze into each other’s eyes and say, “This is what Christmas is all about.”
The formula never changes and the conclusion is always the same, Christmas is all about getting what you want and having a “perfect” peaceful experience. I’m not against siblings getting along peacefully or pretty Christmas decorations but to conclude that is what Christmas is all about is just empty and shallow.
Anyone who has ever tried to plan a “perfect” family experience knows that it always falls flat, the most wanted toy consistently breaks and trying to fill the hole we all feel in our hearts with man made happiness is a recipe for disappointment. I can easily get wrapped up in trying to create the “perfect” Christmas, shopping for the “perfect” gift, moving the dang elf every night to create the “perfect” experience and in the end I ask myself, “Is this what Christmas is all about?”
I grew up in a Christian home and have known the real story of Christmas for as long as I can remember. On Christmas Eve, Christ, God himself, came down to earth as a baby, the promised Messiah, to rescue this world from sin and darkness. I know all about the angels, the shepherds, the wise men, Mary and Joseph. I believe this with all my heart, it is a truth that I have built my entire life upon. And yet, I can find myself treating the Christ-child as just a story, something as fictional as Disney Channel or just as trivial as a sitcom formula.
Worship is what brings my heart back in line with God. Worship allows the time and space my heart needs to embrace the posture needed to sing “O Come Let Us Adore Him” and the mystery of “Silent Night, Holy Night” Spending time in worship and prayer allows space for God to break through the frantic rush of the season and slow me down long enough to realize it’s not all about me but rather all about Him.
Allowing space is so difficult. My life is busy and the demands of this season are never ending.
Here is a trustworthy saying, if we don’t intentionally work at creating space for God we can rush through the holidays without ever seeing him but when we seek him, he will be found.
So, I’m challenging myself to intenionally seek God and I invite you to come along with me. I’m setting my phone alarm to go off once a day from now till Christmas. The alarm simply says, “God, show me what Christmas is all about.” I am 100% confident that God will fill the space I create with his love and Truth. Seeking God everyday will not be trivial or empty but rather will be awesome and exciting. I can’t wait to see what he teaches me.
How about you? Will you set your alarm for God?