I will preempt this post with a WARNING!! Warning, I may step on a few toes...
Christmas is about Christ. Christ + mas(s). Most of us are fairly well intentioned that way, but pride does have a way of creeping in. It's the "ME" part of Christmas that brings all the stress, frustration and ultimate disappointment. The only way to "mess up" Christmas is to make it about you instead of about Jesus. In short, I need to get over myself.
Believe me, I include myself in the throngs of people who manage to insert themselves front and center during this season. Decorating our homes to the hilt...is this really about Jesus or is it about saying to the world, "Look at what I did?" Finding the perfect gift...is it truly about the person we are giving it to or is there a part of us that wants to be the person who finds the perfect gift for everyone on our list?
Here come my toes...is the best picture I selected to put in my card (deleting the other 50 disasters) and the witty Christmas letter truly intended to bring Christmas cheer to the receiver or is it somehow secretly about me? Ouch!
You can't mess up or fail at Christmas if you make it about Christ.
So what does that look like? Most self-help plans give you 5, 10, or 12 steps to success. Follow these simple steps and Voila! you will achieve success.
The key to a successful Christmas takes one step...and really it's not even a "step". It is the simple act of BEING STILL. Be still and dare to let the God of the Universe draw near to you.
When we are still, God does the moving and He will, as His word promises, draw near to us. In order for Him to draw near, we need to let go of something...we need to let go of ourselves. We need to let go of all the things that highlight us and instead focus on the things that highlight Jesus.
Christmas has gotten so glitzy, grandiose and materialistic. But what IS Christmas about really? It's about relationship. God sent Jesus into this world so that we could live in relationship with Him. It is impossible to draw near to God unless we are sinless, perfect. That's a tall order. God knew that so He gave us a bridge to himself...He gave us His son Jesus.
Think about Mary, Joseph and the shepherds...a rag tag bunch that drew near to Jesus that first Christmas. Imagine the joy they felt as they gazed on this tiny innocent baby. Imagine their lighthearted smiles as this newborn reached out and wrapped his tiny fist around their rough fingers. Imagine Mary's peace as she gently stroked Jesus' face and smelled his tiny newborn head. For a moment in time...they were still...and the God who formed the heavens, lay in a wooden manger and drew near to humanity in order to have a relationship with us and to ultimately save us from ourselves.
When we are still...God in three forms (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) draws near to us.
You have made known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)
Will you put down your cards, your wrapping paper, your wallet, your spatula and for a moment pick up God's word to you. Pick up your Bible and read the Christmas story. Only this time, read it as God's love letter just to you. Hear Him whisper to you..."I sent my son as a baby, to be a servant unto you, to heal your diseases, to provide for you, to fight your battles, to bring you peace, to be ever present with you, to redeem you, and to ultimately carry a cross for you so that you would, through his wounds, be made righteous in my sight."
Hear God's voice, as if in a lullaby, say, "I love you so much my child. I so delight in you that I could not just give a little to you, I had to give you my everything...even unto death."
Do you hear His words of peace? Stay for awhile and dwell in them. Abide in His presence. Drink in His love. Dare to draw near...
What places deep within your soul do you long for the Lord to seek out during this season of Advent?
In His love,
ps. If you haven't already, would you consider bringing the message of Jesus' love to the little children in Pakistan? God commands us to proclaim the gospel that the world may know. Your gift will proclaim the light of good news in a very dark corner of the world through Redeemer Christian School. Gifts can be sent to:
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC 27513
Do you want to invite Jesus into your heart this Christmas?
Let's face it though, letting Christ draw near can be intimidating...even somewhat scary. What if he doesn't like what he sees when he gets up close and personal with me? After all what does scripture say about Jesus?
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. (Philippians 2:9-10)
We can tend to keep Jesus at arms length because if we get too close we may just realize that we need saving. If you would like someone to pray with you to receive Jesus into your heart as your Savior and to live in relationship with Him, please feel free to contact me and I would be honored to pray with you...be blessed.