Saturday, December 31, 2011

With Love

With a warm cup of coffee in my hand, I glanced at our December calendar and took a deep breath. Then, I decided that today was going to require something more than caffeine. This evening, alone, I have to be in three places nearly all at once. It seems that most days this time of year look the same.


"How did I let it get away from me again?" I think to myself.

Don't get me wrong. It's all good stuff. Still, every year, in the midst of the Christmas crazies, I begin to feel a bit unraveled. And every year, right about now, I begin to reassess how Christmas is going to look for our family. Clearly, I can't do it all. And, if I choose to chase after the insignificant this Christmas season, I will miss the most important thing of all...Christ, himself.

So I am taking a close look at our family calendar and I am desperately trying to scale back our "have to's" in order that we might spend more time celebrating our Savior. The world is fighting back. Hard. Commercials, marketing gifts I can't afford, bombard me and my children throughout the afternoon. Images of the "perfect" Christmas mock me as holiday movies replay on my television. And then there is the decorating. So. Much. Decorating. Still, I am holding my ground. I simply refuse to let Christ be lost in the middle of the chaos.

Over the years, I have placed some simple anchors in place to keep our family grounded in the real reason for the season. Our Nativity, a treasure from my childhood, sits in its usual place in the hallway, so that it might greet us as we walk through the door. Each evening, our family gathers together, if only for a few moments, and we read a Christmas devotional and countdown to the "big day". And every Sunday, we sit at our dining table and light a candle on our family Advent wreath. Still, I long for more. This time of year, my heart desires to look upon Christ and worship him for all that he is and all that he has done.

When I read the Christmas story quietly and simply ponder the beauty of that silent night over 2,000 years ago, I am reminded that Christmas is about just one thing. Big love. Jesus humbly left his throne in Heaven. He came as a baby and was born of a teenage Virgin. Christ, fully man yet also divine, led a sinless life and then offered that life as a sacrifice for me. He took my sin and my place on a Cross, so that I might be reconciled to God. By his sacrifice alone, I have eternal life in the presence of the LORD. It's a free gift from my Savior to me. And he did all of this for love.

So, this Christmas, I will follow the example of my Savior. In the middle of the busyness, I choose to "do everything in love". (1 Corinthians 16:14) As I hustle through the obligations that will not go away, I will take my Jesus with me. This Christmas season, in all I do, with everyone I meet, I choose to show the love of Christ. And while I hope to conquer the items on my "to do" list, I aspire to greater things as well. There is still time to trim the list and make a little more room for my Savior. After all, it is HIS birthday for which we are preparing.

Perhaps, you have a calendar that looks like mine. Maybe you have a list in your head of what you feel "must" be done to make this a "merry Christmas". This year, I challenge you to prayerfully sift through the distractions. You can't do it all. The best part is, you don't have to. This is one Christmas party where you are free to just come and be. For, Christ has already prepared everything that really matters. And he did it, for you, with love.

Merry CHRISTmas!

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