. . . and then some more . . . More life. More Jesus.

Missing Christmas

They were looking for regal, so they missed His arrival.  They’d been given fair warning that He was coming.  And still they missed out.  Sure, they didn’t have an exact date, but still they knew.  Or at least they should have known.  For they had heard rumblings from prophets of old that the King would come.  Still they missed Christmas. 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.  -Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

They were looking for stunning, spectacular, stately.  But that’s not how He came.

Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this? The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
   a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
   nothing to cause us to take a second look. -Isaiah 53:1-3 (msg)

Instead of majestic, they got a poor baby whose parents couldn’t even get a room.  And their expectations made them miss the whole thing. 

It makes me wonder about the whole Christmas chase.  Are we missing Christmas because of what we think it should look like?  The perfectly wrapped present.  The most beautifully decorated tree.  The most amazing amount of cookies and candy canes and Christmas cards.  The best parties to attend and church Christmas programs. 

I’m on the way to understanding this whole crazy thing we call Christmas.  And I’m pretty sure this is not what God had in mind when He sent huge crowds of angels, some shepherds and three really smart men to spread the news of the King’s arrival on earth.  I have more to grasp, but I don’t believe that God’s idea for Christmas included stressed-out grumpy moms yelling at overworked retail clerks about Zhu-Zhu Princess Carriages.  And I’m starting to think that Satan must be having a hay-day with the whole thing.  You know, just enough giving to make us think we get the real meaning of Christmas . . . only not.  Just enough joy to make us chase our idea of perfection to the point where we miss the joy and go right to the greedy.  Just enough grace to make us feel like we’re serving our Master while crossing it off our list, begrudgingly wondering why we bother.

Please understand I am so all about the celebration of Christmas.  I love the beauty that the celebration inspires.  I just think that somehow we’ve gone from inspired beauty in awe of what God has done to uptight obligation in light of what we think Christmas should look like.

So I am taking measures this year to enhance the joy of the season for real.  And I am totally believing that this time I will not miss Christmas.  Not even when it’s over.

5 Thoughts on “Missing Christmas

  1. talitha on December 16, 2010 at 9:08 am said:

    Thanks for this encouragement today! I am curious about what you are doing to try and focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year? I need ideas. Love you and miss you.

    • Well, this might sound kind of dorky, but I’m asking myself two questions : 1. Why am I doing this (i.e. sending these cards; making these cookies; decorating this — whatever)? and 2. Is it enhancing the celebration of Christmas for me and my family? In other words, am I doing it because “that’s just what we always do?” or does it really enhance the celebration? SO — as an answer to these questions, this year I’m not doing Christmas cards. Instead, I’m pretty sure I will do a family update sometime in early 2011. . . when there aren’t 3 million other things to do and I don’t feel obligated to do it and just check it off my list. That’s the biggest thing I’m NOT doing this year. And, honestly, it feels much fre-er to me somehow. BUT we ARE going through an Advent wreath every Sunday night for the month of December. We sing a Christmas carol, drink hot chocolate and read some Scripture based on the candle we’re lighting. Then we each go around and tell God thank you for or pray about something about Christmas. It’s actually really neat. I get the Scriptures from the Focus on the Family web-site. Also, we’ve been pretty involved in helping the Angel Tree ministry at our church… shopping for kids’ gifts, wrapping them, and last night we delivered some of them. It was awesome because we got to help the girls understand a little more about Christmas giving and helping take care of “the least of these”. Other than that, on the outside, I think our Christmas looks the same. I just feel like God is revolutionizing my understanding of the whole spirit and season of Christmas. Deep down inside my me. 🙂 Hope that makes sense, Talitha. Love you and miss you muchly. 🙂

  2. Love this, Brianna! You’re right, its too easy to miss Christmas…Not gonna do it this time around 🙂

  3. AMEN! So glad to know of others willing to ask the tough questions about this cherished holiday!

    I did have a comment that might further your thoughts…

    I think God’s totally OK with us missing Christmas. Christmas after all is just the “Mass” humans made to celebrate Christ’s birth. God didn’t institute it like He instituted Passover, Communion and the like. Evidently, He didn’t think we needed another special day or rite we’re required to observe. But I think He DOES want us to remember His Gift, so if we decide to do that on Dec 25 in a particular way, OK! We just need to make sure it honors Him!

    Thanks for sharing your travels with us!
    <3, laura

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