I had an unwanted moment of self-revelation recently… I have begun to dread Christmas.
Really? Ugh! I hate that.
Christmas was always one of my favorite and most meaningful holidays. I have a thousand wonderful Christmas memories from childhood. Candlelight services on Christmas eve. Giddy anticipation. Stockings first, yummy brunch, then presents. Christmas music in the background and the smell of cinnamon rolls lingering in the air.
But, now, things are different. Well, they're actually quite similar; it's just my role has changed. Now, I'm the one buying and wrapping all the presents. I'm the one setting out all the decorations. I'm hosting parties and making the cinnamon rolls and trying to plan fun Christmas activities for our kids.
And somewhere in the midst of making it magical for everyone else, I've lost the wonder of it all for myself.
The dominate emotion I feel is no longer anticipation of Christmas, but relief when Christmas is over. And that's sad to me.
I want to anticipate His coming. I want to remember what a desperate and hopeless predicament mankind was stuck in until that silent night when Hope was born. I want to feel my own desperate need for this baby who split time and swept away darkness and made a way for redemption.
My life is in all kinds of need for Him right now. Some times we feel that more than others, and I'll just be honest, I feel it deeply. I need Him to surprise me with His presence the way He surprised the shepherds. I need to ponder Him in my heart the way Mary did. I need to go to ridiculous lengths to find Him the way the Wisemen did. I don't want to miss Jesus this Christmas.
This is the season of Advent. Anticipating something great. The arrival of something so important and significant that it changes everything. Yes, I think that's exactly what I need right now.
Last year we started a new tradition that I loved but think we will continue to tweak. We did a "Jesse Tree" last year and told a different Bible story each night that led up to the coming of Jesus. I liked the concept a lot, but the thing I want to tweak are the selected stories and how they are told. My goal is to tell Bible stories that all link directly to our need for a coming Savior.
Andy found this Advent resource and so I think we'll start here…with God's perfect creation, how we messed it up, and how He paved a way back.
I'd love to hear ideas from your family: How do you keep things simple enough to enjoy Christmas and meaningful enough that you don't miss Jesus?