This blog was put on my heart quite a few weeks ago; however, I wasn't sure where to start or what to say. There is so much that is incorporated with the Christmas Season... gifts, bows, lights, food, traditions, cookies, pies, celebration, family, friends, singleness, loneliness, happiness, memories, heart break, engagements... Whew that was a whirl wind. After pondering all there is to Christmas, I then began to think about naming the blog Holiday Realities but quickly realized.....the whole reason for this time of year is Christ so I can't take that away. Yet, where did He go in the hustle and bustle? How did we ever get to the point where it was okay to act like we are fine just one month? Why is it that all our goals disappear because of Christmas? When did we begin justifying taking Christ out of Christmas? When did Santa become more important than the Savior? Why does life become chaotic in the midst of a time of reflection and thankfulness? Selah.
So where do we begin? The truth sounds like a good start to me (if you remember, God commands us to think upon truth and it is found in the Bible). Luke 2:1-20 gives a synopsis of Mary and Joseph's story. In the middle verses, the scripture talks about the shepherds point of view and there encounter with the angels. Now let's read the end of the verses: "So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told," verses 16-20. If stinky keepers of sheep, who slept out in a field 24/7, were so excited about Jesus's birth why can't we be? If Mary, a virgin who became pregnant and was bound to be married could find time for gratitude and pondering of the Savior, why can't we?
Keeping life in perspective seems so easy to do when you go back to the truth. Taking a moment to imagine what it would have been like to be there in Bethlehem, in the manager, or out in the field. Going so far as to walk in the shoes of Mary or Joseph. Pausing to look into the culture and realize just how taboo the entire story was. The reality of Christmas can be such an incredible thing to experience... Yet what is stopping us from observing it?
Christmas is a time meant for stopping, for pondering, for thankfulness, for worship, for humility, for sin to be revealed, and oh so much more. It isn't a time to bring attention to a jolly man with a big white beard. It's not a time to pretend to like family or eat way too much food. Christmas isn't even about opening presents. The 25 of December is not an excuse to forget our troubles either. We have to remember, brokenness doesn't disappear just because you put up a Christmas tree, wrap gifts, and eat cookies. What a better time than Christmas to embrace our broken world, our broken lives, and share light upon it all. For the next several days, I challenge you to confront sin, admit to loneliness, be prepared when others share happiness to be happy too, be okay with looking back at memories (some good/some bad) and make new ones. Finally, I challenge you to embrace all of who you are and give it all to Jesus...the one who chose to be born upon this earth, to live, to die, and to rise.
In loving memory of Debbie Wickes, my grandma, best friend, adventure seeker, and most importantly Jesus follower. She knew how to embrace Christmas realities not just for a month but year round. Grandma took the time to love those who were hurting. Always prepared to accept her brokenness and use it as a testimony for others. I will never forget the way she encompassed the power of prayer and am forever grateful for her immense impact upon my life. She embraced all that she was, gave it as an offering to the Lord, and shared the truth of the Gospel with everyone she encountered. I cannot wait to dance and sing with her in heaven some day...What a day that will be.