It’s just been one of those weeks.
Long days at work, sent my sister back to college, got some kind of stomach/cold thing, shattered my phone screen, stressed about Christmas presents, Christmas programs, and Christmas parties . . . Let’s just say, I’ve been a bit of a mess. And to top it all off, I came up with, what I thought was, a fantastic blog series idea for the month of December, and it just didn’t seem to be coming together when I attempted to begin it last week. So I put it on hold and thought, “I’ll try again when I have my life more put-together.” After all, it’s about focusing on the real reason for Christmas, and I’m just not ready for that right now.
But just now, sitting on the couch dreading an early morning tomorrow and wondering what to do about my phone, I realized: right now is exactly when I need to focus on the real reason for Christmas.
Sure, the carols and festive lights help. Putting up two Christmas trees (the tree in our family room and the one at church) and one more to set up in my room also invokes the proverbial “Christmas spirit.” And of course making up a “wish list,” and planning what to get everyone and imagining the looks on their faces brings a happiness. But Christmas. What is it? Why do we celebrate? Why bother?
Why bother. I’m severely disappointed when Christians talk about not enjoying Christmas. Ok fine, if you don’t get into the commercialism, Charlie Brown, I understand. Sit there and hate Santa Claus and multicolored trees and “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree.” But for goodness sake, Jesus Christ CAME! I’ve been struck by this thought this season: His birth means everything to us. I mentioned on December first that He came to live perfectly, to “get it together,” so that we don’t need to beat ourselves up when we can’t get our own life together.
So, what am I going to do about it? Let this Christmas season run its course, go to family parties and eat too much, post hipster festive photos on Instagram complete with cliche carols, direct the Christmas program and hope all the kids remember their roles, enjoy the high of getting and giving gifts, and gear up for 2016?
No. This season, I want to slow down. I want to, yes, enjoy the magic Christmas brings: embrace family and laugh together, skip through the mall swinging red shopping bags, sing Christmas songs just a little too loud, and find the perfect ugly sweater for a Christmas party at work. But more than that, I want to realize Who He is and why He came: to not just sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” but actually think about God wrapping His Son in flesh to COME; to not just read the Christmas verses but imagine what Joseph and Mary felt and thought and feared, and the comfort God gave; to not just smile and say “Merry Christmas,” but to tell people the good tidings of great joy and eternal hope that He brings.
Therefore, this is the introduction to my blog series for this December, titled “Our Messiah.” Each post will tell a portion of Christ’s coming as a baby from the perspective of a fictional character. Remember: I said fictional. I enjoy stories and understand them better when I imagine what it was like for those in the story. I am by no means rewriting the Bible or the Christmas story. I am simply imagining what it may have been like for me, as a different character, there in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.
Here we go. Christmas gets a bit deeper as we get older, doesn’t it? But it gets more beautiful. Let’s go back to Bethlehem, and bow in wonder at the Prince of Peace Who stepped from Heaven’s holy throne. . .