COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS
Not Quite as Thrilling as When I was 10
I cannot believe how fast time seems to move these days. I know it isn't faster than at any other time in history, but it sure seems to fly by. Its like being on a merry-go-round while the world is spinning past and you can't get off to make it slow down. My oldest sister made a comment to me about time and how God is timeless. He sees our today just as clearly as he sees our yesterday and tomorrow. I threw that last bit in myself. God is not under any time constraint. Because He is eternal. The passage of time doesn't affect Him. He never changes or alters who He is.
I've lost the excitement for Christmas over the years. As a child you look forward to the time off of school, the Christmas goodies and Christmas morning gifts. You participate in Christmas plays and caroling, it all builds to the one day of the year children love. I remember that it took forever to come every year, but it did without fail.
This year when I started seeing Christmas lights in October I screamed "NOOOOOOO, I'm not ready for three months of lonely." I think that is when I realized that to some it might be the most wonderful time of the year, but for me it is the loneliest time of the year. Every day reminds me that I will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas alone in a dark apartment. There will be no laughter, no family, no gift exchange, no football, no tickling, no holiday treats, no fabulous meal, no tree, no lights, nothing. It's just another day. In fact I went to work on Thanksgiving day to keep from being reminded that I had no place to go.
I try not to be a Scrooge, but I can understand why the old curmudgeon was so unhappy during Christmas. His life as it turns out started out like everyone else. His ups and his downs and constant disappointments made him choose a path that was in fact lonely. Mine is no different. I am where I am because of choices I made. It isn't that family doesn't want me, as Satan would like to convince me. It is that through the years my choices have put me now in a state too far for visits and my finances have made it difficult to take time off and actually travel for the holidays. When you combine that with the fact that I never had children, the whole thing makes me a kind of Scrooge character, though not really. I still demonstrate the Christmas spirit when I am around others.
I determined this year to play Christmas music every day even though I wasn't joyful. I was determined to be gracious when gifts were sent, though I don't really lack for anything these days and gifts are not important to me. Then I realized that the greatest gift given to us came at Christmas and it wasn't given to us for our sake it was given to us because God is unchanging. That tiny baby born on Christmas was given to us because God is LOVE. He loves us so much that when Adam sinned God had to have a plan to redeem Adam and his children. He loves us so much he wants us to be with Him forever. His plan took years in human time, but He knew every tiny detail.
Think about it. God loves us so much that He designed a plan so brilliant that the implementation of that plan brings people together in celebration! It is a day of joy, peace and love. Christmas isn't about the tree, the goodies, the presents, the music, or time off of work and school. Christmas is about love, God's love. Valentines Day can't measure up to the season of Love that God designed by sending His son into the world as a baby who grew up like all of us and one day would lay down His life to save us from a lonely eternity without God.
God became a baby to live as we do and know what life is like in every aspect from beginning to end. Then He willingly suffered the most horrific death in our place. He knows what life is like in every season. We can have confidence that our God is so familiar with our own suffering that we can go to him whenever we need comfort. Imagine Jesus growing up just like we do anticipating holy days, birthdays, and school lessons. Imagine every year this child going to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover knowing that it represented the way he would save the world. I often wonder what age he was when he realized this. Did he know he would die for the whole world when he was 12 and talking to the leaders in the temple?
One of my biggest pet peeves with Christmas is the commercialism. I just want all the fake stuff that takes our eyes off of Jesus to go away. I want people to just celebrate Him. That little baby would do something that none of us would even dare think of doing. This year I hung a wooden nativity silhouette on my door. I put two lanterns with fake candles on hooks on either side of the door. There is a sign under the nativity that says "Christ OUR Savior is born today". To my great surprise it has gotten noticed. I've had comments by more than one of my neighbors. I can't make people focus on the real reason for Christmas, but I make my own heart go there every time I come home.
I don't feel so lonely this year. I Imagine Jesus, that baby, with me every day. He fills those lonely spaces and brings me joy the whole year through. For his birthday the only gift he wants is our hearts fully surrendered to Him. I don't think that is too much to hope for.
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus! Thank you for your life and your death and your resurrection from the dead to give us an eternity with you. What a celebration that will be when we meet you face to face and celebrate your love for eternity!
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."