Seeking Christmas. Amidst the chaos and bows, the decorations and the traditions...among all the things I love about this time of year, I am still seeking the heart of Christmas.
We can go to the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus' birth. But this whole year has been such a learning curve to me. Why can't Christmas be new to me too...
In 2018, my whole relationship with God has shifted into a deeper season - seeing Him through a different perspective. A deeper understanding. I have loved "getting to know" my Savior this year. I have loved sharing Him with others out of passion, rather than duty. I have loved hearing my son ask what did you learn. I have loved becoming the student again. The craving. The hunger. The curiosity. Its beautiful.
So Christmas, why would Christmas be any different?
I will always reverence the birth of my Savior. But as I began to ponder it all putting out decorations and shifting my time with God to prepare my heart for Christmas I began to pray that I wouldn't miss this Christmas - and what God wanted to teach me.
No matter what I study or what songs I listen to, one thing keeps striking my attention: Waiting.
In my quiet time, I have been studying through the waiting, anticipation, planning, and preparation of those early Christians as they waited on their Savior. And also our instructions as we are waiting, anticipating, planning and preparing for His return. And how familiar this is (in a much smaller scale) to us now - waiting, anticipating, planning, and preparing for Christmas.
I love the connection, because as I do the typical Christmas routine --- planning our schedules, meals and presents; anticipating reactions, joy, and fun; waiting for morning, traditions and orders to come in; and preparing for parties and events --- this connection filters into my thoughts so undetected. How am I planning and preparing for Christmas in my heart? How am I anticipating and waiting for Christ's return? Have I appreciated and am I using all the provisions (gifts) God has given to me in order to sustain me in the waiting? (Spiritual Gifts, Armor of God, etc)
In Gavin's #timewithGod, we are reading Pilgrim's Progress. It is a slow journey...being that he is 5yo and our attention span is limited. Not to mention, this book is deep. I did not recall until we started reading just how deep it can go into personal conviction. But somedays we just have to bask in the information and let it soak for a while. It has been an incredible tool to teach. And it has prompted amazing questions from a heart of a child. And honestly, going through the book with a child has made it a deeper, but simplified journey for me. Of course humbling as well - as I share with Gavin ways I have been like little Christian in his journey with mistakes I have made and burdens I have carried for far too long. But in reading, the main characters anticipation of meeting the king, losing his burden and reaching the Celestial City is undeniable.
Waiting, anticipating, planning, and preparing is just part of the journey, if you are a Christian.
Then this morning I heard a very simple lyric in a song -
You could have saved us in a second, but instead you sent a child.
The truth. God could have done any number of things to save us, some even immediate. But He didn't. He sent His son as a baby. Knowing full well there would be a wait. Jesus came willingly, but came as a newborn. Knowing full well there would be so much to anticipate. The planning. The preparation. The heart of our God is in it all. And the love our Savior is too.
I think there is a beautiful lesson in Christmas about waiting. I have missed it until this year. Christmas is just about the only thing in which I embrace waiting. I don't want to rush it, force it, or make it happen. I want to enjoy every moment. Even the waiting. I try to be ready, have a plan, anticipate the outcome, and prepare for it to be great. It the only season I can see the beauty in waiting. AND THIS IS WHAT HE WANTS.
He asks us to wait. He strategically puts us in seasons of waiting. But He does not intend us to be there with sour faces and bitter hearts. He wants us to wait, anticipate, plan, and prepare with the same joy of Christmas.
Waiting in expectation of His provision. Anticipating the outcome of seeing Him work in your life. Our planning to make ourselves available to Him (through spending time in the Bible, with other believers, prayer, and obedience) will prepare us. And in planning and preparation we will be ready. But does the joy in our waiting relate to the same joy we have of Christmas?
I'm sure Jesus would have preferred to have a quick resolution, but if we cut out the 33 years of his life - how much would be lost. How many. His wait was unimaginable. The relationships He invested in knowing betrayal was coming. The obedience, knowing the unavoidable ridicule. The anticipated death. He knew it. He had the power to avoid it. But He accepted it. He planned for it. He prepared for it. And when the moment came - He was ready.