Christmas Reflections and Looking Forward
Christmas day has come and gone...
Lol. Maybe this photo says it all.
Now I’m a just a tad reflective about past month leading up to Christmas. This year I got to be with my family for Christmas (happens rarely). Hello from the Great White North! So naturally I’m a bit more reflective of christmas when I was growing up. We had tons of traditional christmas baking, specific, only at Christmas time food, Christmas puzzles to work on, festive lights and blow-up displays to look at and lots of Norwegian folklore and Santa Claus to believe/pretend in. Sometimes, but not every year we would see a ballet performance of the Nutcracker or Handel’s Messiah = a chance to wear fancy dresses.
As Christians, Christmas is also a time of celebration remembering that Jesus was born to be with us, Emmanuel. That moment in history when what history was waiting for and what our future is hinged on came into being. We reflect back to that moment when Jesus, the King-destined-baby entered our world in the mess of a manger and met humanity in the mess of it all. A reflection is only part of the whole picture right?
And to the present, this December 1st I pulled out our totes of Christmas decor and uncovered the children’s nativity play set. Immediately the fun began. The shepherds, sheep, Mary, the Angel were being lined up and the imaginary conversations followed. I made my way around the house primping and tucking with one ear open of course, always as a mom must do to merely survive. I heard my 3 year old daughter declare “everybody come enjoy baby Jesus born!” and then “ ohhhh baby Jesus is beautiful”.
I was thinking about this in the middle of Christmas planning and it struck me that I had drifted away from my daughter’s December 1st declaration, the first thing I pulled out from our decorations was not being kept in first place. She nailed it, the whole point of this holiday and I had taken on other responsibilities and expectations. I’d been pulled, swept away with wanting to create a beautiful season with traditions and smells and healthy ventures and parties and literature, expecting that I need to orchestrate all these things to make it a merry, jolly Christmas. And once again I was wrapped up in the wrong things.
I need to recalibrate and think about how I can enjoy the birth of Jesus. Now is our chance to do that. Every day we have the chance so let’s take it, let’s not let something else grab our heart’s intention and mislead our place of focus. Let’s find the true altar and make great efforts to search for that place where we set aside the other things and like the wise men “they fell to the ground and worshiped Him”. Matthew 2:11.
For some of us Christmas is a time of imagination… tall tales of Santa Claus, and sugar plum fairies are dancing around in our mind we know they’re just stories but we give a nod to them all and welcome the imagination and enchantment of the of the season.
When I look through the Bible, I see lots to pique the imagination; similar to how children believe, without needing the proof to verify it all, it’s true. At Christmas we zoom in on that moment in God’s story when Jesus came, God with us, to dwell with us and rescue us. As a dreamer, as a lover, I can’t help but look forward too, to the Truth that awaits us. There's excitement because after all that God has done, there's still more to come in God's story.
Probably a lot of us have heard the iconic Christmas verse, Handel made it beautifully famous:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will be upon his shoulders;
And his name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God.
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The verse right after it is a little less famous but equally deserving attention.
There will be no end to the increase of his governments or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom.
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forever more.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
Let’s fill our minds with visions of Emmanuel, a warrior King born as a babe but returning to us to reign forever. One day, He will return, we don’t know when, but let’s cultivate anticipation. Like a child who counts down to christmas before they can even really count, let’s be God’s bride who is hoping, waiting, excited for the Prince of Peace to be forever with us. Let’s not just celebrate like it’s another fairytale, brimming full of imaginative stories to pique our interests and entertain but a beautiful reality that God has set forth into motion. Emmanuel is a promise, a sign (Isaiah 7:14) that God.will.be.with.us! He’s already come, born as a weak baby, miraculously as a baby. He’s already suffered, died, then won. Crowned with victory, He’s beat the battle of death. He’s already sent His Spirit to be our Counselor, to be our compass, to help us and guide us through the dark and lively days. And still we wait, and still we hope, and still we anticipate that day when He will be on the throne, when He will be the government of peace.
Dear friends, Wise Women, Beautiful Bride, anticipate because the zeal of the Lord will accomplish this.