I love Christmas! Like really really love it. Moments like I have pictured above give me so much joy it's a little ridiculous! I love lights, Christmas songs, and drinking coffee out of a tacky Christmas mug. Hallmark Christmas movies are pretty much blockbuster hits in my eyes. It has been so much fun to set up the nativity scene and talk through each part with my toddler, but let's be real, all she wants to do is eat the wisemen. I become a nostalgic and sentimental freak with Christmas traditions from my childhood and developing new ones with my own little family. Add in we now live in the house my grandparents built and you have a recipe for a total nostalgic Christmas nut-job, just ask my husband! I love pretty much everything about this time of year except for how busy it can become.
I realize this is not a very unique blog post. I can imagine there are probably hundreds of "Christmas time is busy" posts out there. I don't have a great reason as to why I want to add another other than it's on my mind, I feel like writing out my thoughts, and my toddler is taking a good nap. I am not a faithful blogger and I testify to that in probably every post because they are so spread out. Every now and then I get the itch to get my thoughts out and share them with others who may be processing some of the same ideas. Maybe we can process together and be a little less nuts this holiday season!
I know you're all ready hearing it and saying it, "This time of year is so busy!" There are parties to attend and so much shopping to be done. Christmas cards have to be mailed, you know, before Christmas Eve at least. You have daily advent activities to plan or elf escapades to prepare. There are decorations to put out or up or however you want to say it. As if that isn't enough, for the most part we have to continue with our normal daily activities and responsibilities. For some reason my family still wants food daily and clean clothes during December. Don't they know the Pintrest pressure I'm feeling?!
I don't know about you, but my newsfeed is filled with Christmas decoration pictures, elf ideas, santa ideas, elf and santa more Christ-centered alternative ideas, advent calendars, and on and on. This isn't a rant against those things. I love most of them and do a lot of them. I try to be very Romans 14 with all of that and try to not pass judgement on others, seek peace, and pursue building others up toward Christ. We don't have to agree on elves and Santa to accomplish that. I could probably write a post on that topic, but that's for another day, you know in a year when I blog again. (Is using the word "blog" even still cool?) Ok, back on track, what I'm trying to do and want to encourage us all to do is SLOW DOWN a little.
I know the thought of "slowing down" this time of year seems impossible. As I type those words my brain immediately rejects the idea with lists of things that must be done and Pintrest ideas that would make Christmas perfect and remarkable. I think we all have good intentions. We want Christmas to point to Christ and be fun and memorable for our families. The thing is, I think that in the midst of it all we can get overwhelmed with all the stuff and miss out on what the stuff is intended to accomplish. We can plan out the perfect daily advent activities and go out of our way to make them happen. Still at the end of the day we might completely miss out on experiencing Christ in them and the joy that comes from that.
So let's slow down together for just a minute. Let's look at what it is we are celebrating and hoping to point to with all of this hustle and bustle.
"For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)
We don't need to miss this, not this year, not any year. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus who is the Son of God. Let that sink in for a second: God sent us His Son! Paul tells it this way to the Philipians, "...Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." I know that last part is Easter. What am I thinking mixing holidays? We all barely have time to squeeze in one holiday right now, right?! The thing is we can't properly celebrate Christmas without the coming of Easter in mind. The reason God's Son being born is something to celebrate is because He grew into a man who was without sin, was put to death on the cross, and rose again. The angel didn't just tell Joseph that Mary was going to have a baby. The angel pointed to Who that baby would grow up to be and what He would eventually do.
"She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sin." (Matthew 1:21)
We are celebrating the advent, or coming, of God's Son! I know I keep stressing that, but it's everything! God's Son took on human form, grew up holy and perfect in the midst of a sinful world, and sacrificed Himself to save His people. There is nothing we can do to make that any more remarkable than it all ready is! However, I would say there is plenty we can do to either focus on that or distract from it.
Now don't get worried, I'm not saying do away with all the Christmas traditions and fun. Don't rip those lights down yet or pack up all your crafty activities. Remember, this is the nostalgic Christmas freak talking here! I just want to encourage us all, myself foremost, to not get so busy we miss Who we are celebrating. We try so hard to make this season about miracles and wonder, but Jesus in and of Himself is all of that. Don't get overwhelmed by all the ideas that would make this Christmas just perfect. Pick one that you like, works well for your family, and enjoy it! Simplify if you need to or go big if you prefer, just let Jesus be what makes this Christmas remarkable. After all He is Wonderful, our Counselor, the Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace!