Something more for Christmas
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Some years we need Christmas as if our whole life depended on it. Maybe this has been a challenging year in mind, body and spirit, more dark days than light. Maybe you do your best to conceal it, but underneath, you are lonely, afraid, and short on hope. Or maybe you are just plain tired of the artificial pageantry and consumerism of our secular culture, and yearn to experience something outside the lines, transcendent, and holy!
The present world gives us infinite reasons not to believe, to lose hope—to forget God. Herod’s are everywhere! Every single vignette in the Christmas story— Mary and the angel visitation, Joseph and his dream, the shepherds and the Magi—share a common denominator. They each had an encounter with God —heaven broke through.
If we are truly honest what we really need for Christmas this year is proof that God is still present among us, proof that there is always hope, proof that no matter how dark the night, there will be a star to light our way, and proof that there is a greater plan, even if we cannot see it, where all will be right, and just, and holy in God’s timing.
Ann Weems poem, “To Listen To Look,” resonates:
Is it all sewn up—my life?
Is it at this point so predictable,
that I don’t have time or space
for listening for the rustle of angel’s wings
or running to stables to see a baby?
Could this be what he meant when he said
Listen, those who have ears to hear…
Look, for those who have eyes to see?
O God, give me the humbleness of those shepherds
who saw in the cold December darkness
the Coming of Light!
the Advent of Love!
We know we won’t find what our souls are seeking in beautifully wrapped gifts, mugs of egg nog, or standing in line at the Apple store. The true gift of Christmas has no price tag. It is mysterious and always catches us by surprise. Nothing compares to that warm glow, cheeks flushed with hope, goosebumps up and down your arms, eyes captivated by the wonder of a “divine” moment here on earth. Tongue-tied, you’ll stutter, “I know not what.” But the soul knows. The soul has always known. God is here—with us—for us.
This Christmas, I challenge you to become like Sherlock Holmes and faithfully search for the holy clues underneath the tinsel, the bright red and green ribbons, the revelry, and the gifts. See if you can prove that God is still with us, that hope does not disappoint, that there is a welling of joy untapped deep within you, and that yes, when you do take the time to contemplate your life, you see that there is a beautifully intricate and holy plan at work.
If you want to experience heaven breaking through, find a way to help heaven break through for someone else this Christmas. Amazing how God shows up at the simplest act of kindness, a showing of mercy, an expression of pure love.
I hope you and those you love have an extra blessed Christmas. I’ll see you in 2023!
God of Joy,
Surprise us with twinkling moments.
Convince us that heaven is still breaking through.
You are here among us,
healing broken hearts,
rebuilding our reserves of hope,
and filling us with joy soul-deep.
We love you.
We trust you.
We thank you.
P.S. Yes! I am crushing on Lauren Daigle and her beautiful voice. I took my daughters to see her in concert this past week at The Ryman in Nashville. Her song, The light of the World, is transcendent and will bring you joy!!