Tag Archives: Christmas

The Christmas Wait

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I’m very excited about Christmas this year. Unnaturally excited. Weirdly excited. I’m not even sure why. Typically, I give the Grinch a run for his money. This year, I was the annoying girl who was humming Christmas carols half-way through November.

As I’ve written before, 2016 has been a disappointing year. Furthermore, I spent all of October and November working weekends (as in 12hrs a day) and I missed my sweet hubby even more than I expected to. So, the approach of year’s end and some much needed hubby-time had me tapping my foot impatiently at November, telling it to get a move on.

But impatient foot-tapping isn’t new for me; it’s sorta my M.O. I’m like a Geico commercial: “If you’re Leah Ness, you wait impatiently. It’s what you do.”

So here’s the really weird thing: I’m super excited for Christmas, but I don’t really want it to get here. Not just yet. My sweet hubby is so eager to give me my presents that he bemoans the distance between now and the 25th on a daily basis. Me? I’m reveling in the anticipation.

How I wish that could be the case in other areas of my life.

I’ve been waiting for motherhood for about 14yrs now. It was all I really wanted to do with my life, the end goal of all my decisions since the age of about 16. After 2yrs of infertility and a failed foster application, I’ve had it up to here with waiting.

And I have to wonder, what would it be like if I could have the certainty that my dreams were safe? Christmas morning will be here before I know it, I have experience in that. Whether I wait patiently or impatiently, the 25th will get here all on its own. I really don’t have to worry or rush it.

If only I had that same assurance with the desires of my heart.

If only I had as much faith in Christ coming through as I do in Christmas.  

I don’t know what God’s plans for me are. He could have a baby in mind for us. Hey, He might even be planning twins (*hint, hint Lord*). But even if His plans for me do not include ever hearing a little one call me mommy, I know those plans are still good.

I serve a great, kind, faithful God. His plans for me – His thoughts on me – are far greater and more beautiful than I could ever imagine. And far more important than I may ever understand here on earth. And I can trust Him that they are good. I can trust Him to be good.

With that truth in mind, I should be able to sit back, relax, and revel in the anticipation. The operative word being ‘should.’

I wonder what my life would look like if every morning, instead of checking the calendar to see how long I’ve waiting and wonder how much time is still left, I just trusted God to get me where I’m going when I’m ready to be there.

What would my days look like if I trusted the Lord so much that I wasn’t in a hurry for my dreams to come true?

How would my relationship with my Father change if I enjoyed the act of walking with Him more than the idea of getting to my destination as soon as possible?

What if I slowed down and took every day as the blessing it is and just enjoyed His presence, safe in the knowledge that wherever we’re going, He’ll be with me?

His presence is the real prize. And in the end, I get heaven.

I know Christmas will be wonderful because I know that my husband loves me and that I get to spend the day with him. And I know that the gifts he’s gotten me will be wonderful because he loves me and cares about me and knows me better than anyone. He’s chosen my gifts with care and is eager for me to enjoy them. So I’m going to rest in the expectation of Dec. 25th.

I know heaven will be wonderful because I know that my Jesus loves me and that I get to spend eternity with Him. And I know that the gifts He’s planning for me will be wonderful because He loves me and cares about me and knows me better than I know myself. He’s planned my future with care and is eager for me to enjoy it. So I’m going to rest in the expectation of eternity.


Get Behind me, Santa

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Tis the season, so I suppose I should probably have a Christmas themed post or two. Trouble is, I’m a self professed Grinch.

The other trouble is that I love and follow Jesus and I enjoy giving gifts to no end.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this time of year is a bit confusing for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love all the holiday spirit: the tree, the food, the gifts, and most of all the family and friends. I love the traditions and the general good-will mood.

The part I can’t stand about this time of year is the politics.

Everywhere you turn there are the debates over ‘Happy Holidays’ vs. ‘Merry Christmas,’ Hymns vs. Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, nativity scenes vs. Santa and his sleigh. It seems like you can’t make a move without stepping on someone’s toes.

It’s the season for political correctness to run rampant and offenses to run high.

We Christians are all but commanded by the church community to ‘Keep Christ in Christmas.’ But I was thinking about that phrase the other day and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really a very dumb phrase.

Think about it: the implication here is that if we Christians do not fight tooth and nail campaigning for our rights to our music, decorations, seasonal greetings, and shopping hours, that Jesus will be taken out of Christmas. This call to action is basically stating that non-Christians have the power over Jesus to ban Him from this time of year.

And it’s not just Christmas either. The Church is campaigning to keep Jesus in our schools, in our government buildings, in our currency, in our laws, etc. As though to say that if we were to step out of politics, Jesus would be ousted and denied re-entry.

But I’ve got news on the political fighting point: God is omnipresent.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.

Prov. 15:3

This means that God is in every single government office, every school, every college lecture hall, every supermarket, etc. Furthermore, wherever there is a Christian, there can and will be Holy Spirit anointed prayer.

Even if there were no Christians for miles, God would still be there. His presence is not dependent on us. It’s not like He needs us to get Him into a building and the lack of Christians will keep Him from standing in the oval office and seeing that everything goes according to His perfect plan.

I really don’t think that we Christians are meant to be campaigning so hard on the political front (with the exception, of course, of those who God has called to political office). I don’t think it shows the love of Christ to get our noses bent out of shape when we hear ‘Happy Holidays.’

Those types of political concerns are for the world to worry about. There’s no mention of the apostles marching up and down the street with picket signs. They were too busy loving on people and preaching against sins. Not the sin of Santa and his reindeer, either.

I just worry that the church may have its priorities out of order and that we are fighting in battles that don’t concern us.

If someone wants to sing frosty the snowman and wish me Happy Holidays, then groovy. The far greater concern to me should be whether or not that person realizes how much Jesus loves them and how much they need Him. Because if they don’t have that, then they could celebrate Christmas in the Godliest manner possible and still lose their soul.

So this year, let’s not worry about keeping Jesus in Christmas, in government buildings, in schools, etc. He is already there, and I can assure you that no scheme of man can keep Jesus away from any place He wants to be.

Let’s focus instead on whether or not He is in our hearts and the hearts of those around us. Let’s just love on people this year, pray for those in power, and live lives that are glorifying to God.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 Tim.2:1-4


The Christmas Scandal

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A scandal has arisen in the UK over the release of a Christmas commercial by Sainsbury Grocery. The commercial (which can be viewed here) spends about 3 minutes depicting the Christmas Truce of 1914, with the end goal of selling chocolate.

Apparently, people are upset that such an extraordinary event should be used for advertising purposes… which, let’s be honest, is a tad ironic given that the whole season – one said to celebrate the birth of Christ – is basically one be advertisement at this point. (Yes, I’m Charlie Brown, I admit.)

However, I’m very grateful to this ad and its controversy because it stopped me dead in my tracks and caused me to look at the Jesus’ advent in a way I never had before.

We all know (some have experienced) the trauma of childbirth for the mother, but I think few of us really reflect on the trauma the child goes through.

Everything the baby has ever known about safety and warmth and care is suddenly ripped away as the poor little infant is squeezed slowly through the birth canal.

He then emerges into a world of lights and sounds and cold that is completely foreign and uncomfortable. The baby experiences hunger for the first time, and cold, and weakness.

He is totally and completely helpless, too frail to even lift his own head and completely at the mercy of the strange giants around him. He can’t communicate his needs or desires through anything other than plaintive wails.

He is completely helpless.

Now picture the Almighty Creator of the Universe, Perfect and Holy God condescending to put Himself through this.

Condescending to experience pain, hunger, weakness, shame, rejection, betrayal, helplessness… in short, humanity, in all its splendor.

I don’t know where theologians stand with this, but I personally believe that Jesus was fully conscience of His God state in the midst of this event.

And He suffered through all this completely blamelessly, totally undeservedly.

From the Lord’s side of things, His birth was more unjust, more scandalous than anything that has happened or ever could happen here on earth, in war time or in peace.

And yet He submitted to it willingly, for your sake and for mine.

Every year, we hear a lot about ‘the reason for the season’ and words like ‘gratitude’ and ‘greatest gift’ get bandied about. I feel like this discussion has grown stale, and we don’t stop often enough to think about what it is that we are actually grateful for.

We’ve been told that Jesus died for our sins, but how often do we stop to think about how He lived for them? If you ponder the physical side of humanity, it can be stated that we begin to die as soon as we’re born, so Jesus’ death really began with His birth.

I like the commercial above. The company uses the word ‘share,’ but what I see is sacrifice. And maybe that’s what this season is really all about, the opportunity to truly reflect on the Sacrifice that was made on our behalf, and the chance to look around for opportunities to make sacrifices on behalf of others.

(Originally published 12/1/2014)


Why There’s No Such Thing as ‘Square One’

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Ok, I guess that’s not completely true. I suppose you could look at the day you’re born as square one. What I mean is there’s no such thing as ‘returning’ to square one.

I love to knit. There, my secret is out. I’m a knit-wit. And with Christmas just around the corner, I have been knitting like a crazy person, trying to make gifts for all my nearest and dearest. The other day, I completed a project and admired it happily, congratulating myself on my accomplishment and looking forward to gifting it to its intended recipient.

It was in the midst of my examination that I realized it would be too small to fit the person I had made it for. The pattern was such that I couldn’t simply take out the finishing stitches and make it bigger. I had to start over from the very beginning.

“Back to square one,” I muttered to myself, feeling discouraged and annoyed with myself for messing up. I was sorely tempted in that moment to turn the project into a projectile. Then I drew a deep breath and reminded myself of a truth that God has been impressing on me: there is no such thing as square one.

Sure, I had to start from the beginning, but I was now familiar with the pattern and could make it better than it had been the first time, not only in terms of size, but appearance as well. I knew what I had to do to make it work and this time I had the knowledge and experience I needed to pull it off.

The same thing happens to me in my spiritual walk. I seem to be doing just fine then I lose my temper, doubt God’s goodness, or have a fight with someone and I’m left looking at my life thinking, “Back to square one.”

Sound familiar?

But the truth is, there is no more ‘square one’ for me because I will never be that same person again. I could backslide for miles and never reach my original starting point. I have gained so much on my journey so far. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of failures and successes and I’ve learned a ton .God has taught me lessons through my experiences that I have been able to apply all over my life.

God has picked me up so many times that I’m starting to trust that He will always pick me up. He’s let me try things on my own so many times that I’m starting to know and accept that His ways are best.

My failings in the past have taught me invaluable lessens on things like God’s love and grace for me, the importance of forgiveness, perseverance, trust, etc. I know I would not be where I am today without a few of those back steps.

So whenever I mess up and I’m tempted to despair at the thought of ‘starting over,’ I take a deep breath and remember how far I’ve come. I try to take every setback and failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. As with my knitting project, I know it will be even better the next time around because I’ve come a long way and by the grace of God, I’m going to keep going even further.  


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