I love, love, love Christmas time. It is actually my most favorite time of the year. I have very fond memories of family time together, listening to Christmas music, enjoying the lights at Callaway Gardens since their beginning, Christmas cantatas led by my Daddy, Pop & Granny's...ahh, Pop & Granny's. My most favorite place to be as a child. Miss them so much!
I could listen to Christmas music all the time. If I had the room, I would keep a tree up all year long because I so enjoy the lights. I'm a lights kinda girl. We put approximately 1500-2000 lights on our tree each year. Oh yeah, and the tree goes up on November 16th, my birthday. I'm such a stickler for that that I had my husband promise that, if I died, he would continue to put up the tree on my birthday. How morbid is that! ;-) I also tell people that my place in Heaven will be the one lit up with beautiful lights. I'm just drawn to light. I love to just lie beneath the tree and stare up at all the lights. I don't care about lots of presents (although I do love a good gift). Just the gathering and reflecting. I just want everyone together and having fun even though the electricity bill is going up because of all my lights!
All that to say, I'm struggling this year. Struggling with celebrating, with consumerism, with what our culture has turned Christmas into. And with what Christians have supported and gone along with. Now, please don't hear any of the following words as judgmental but as me sharing my heart, and if God has something in the words for you, then they were worth me sharing.
My tree didn't go up on my birthday this year for many reasons. We had just moved my grandmother and her husband into our home and we were leaving for a trip to KY for 2 weeks and, I'm just struggling. I told my husband that I didn't care if the tree went up at all this year. He fears I've been replaced by an alien. The tree is up now and it's beautiful. I've always enjoyed the lit tree and never let this culture spoil or taint what I have kept pure in my heart. I'm not sure if my heart is now tainted or if God is changing my heart but I believe it is the latter. What is this season about? Yes, it's about Jesus' birth. Let's all gather around Luke chapter 2 and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. But, have we missed it?
Gift giving, of itself, is beautiful. Jesus is God's gift to us. His truth. His forgiveness. So, I have no problem with taking delight in providing for another's need or desire. But I don't think that is always what is happening underneath all the packages and bows. Unfortunately many gifts are given out of obligation, duty, or pity. Some are given under the guise of fantasy and pretend gone a muck (for the record, I encourage imagination and pretending as long as reality is recognized for what it is. May the credit and glory for the blessings in your life go to the One from whose hands they come!). Some gifts may be given with the thought that the more you spend, or the-bigger-the-better, the more love you are demonstrating. I am glad that, in God's perfect timing, He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners... He came. Not with pomp and circumstance but softly, tenderly, humbly, quietly, perfectly, The Word among men.
Immanuel. Immanuel. God with us. God. Creator. Communicator. Omnipotent. Sovereign. LORD of lords and KING of kings humbled Himself and came to be. with. us. Among us. God with us. Jesus. If you know Him, He is with us not just in December but always. By Him and through Him all things were created. Becoming more like Him. That's what this life is all about. As we become more like Him, we shine His light into this world's darkness. He is Truth. He is the Light of the world. Did I mention that I love lights? I pray that I'm drawn to the Light more than anything else. The things of this earth really do grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. And not just during this season of cyber deals and door busters but year round. We have the opportunity to be a city on a hill. A light that cannot be hidden and that leads to Jesus.
I don't know how the Lord will manifest Himself in your life but will you come with me and lie at His feet to behold the Light of the world?