It is finished!
Can I confess that when the calendar rolls past 12/25, I sigh with relief.
The pressure is off to send one more card or shop for one more present or bake one more cookie or attend one more holiday gathering. Curiosity is satisfied and expectations were either met or disappointments have been dealt with.
It is finished and I’m grateful.
How did your holidays go? Maybe this year your Christmas was unexpectedly different. The death of a loved one left an empty space at your table and in your heart so vacuous that facing the cheerfulness of the holiday was nearly impossible.
Military families with service men and women serving far away from home secretly hoped for a surprise visit like something out of a television commercial. (I know I crept downstairs on Christmas morning hoping to see an Eli-lump on the couch. Sigh. Just throw pillows.)
Empty nesters sleep in on Christmas Day, missing the pre-dawn promptings from children eager to open the presents under the tree.
Snowbirds celebrating Christmas in the south are unexpectedly melancholy, feeling lonely in their quiet abodes, silently missing the noisy falderal of family traditions, and even the cold and snow.
College students back home for the holiday are more excited about reconnecting with friends and time away from studies than celebrating Christmas. The childlike wonder and surprise is missing.
Christmas is over, but Jesus remains.
The monumental expenditure of creative energy and resources can bring out the crazy in the best of us. I’m guilty of losing sight of Jesus in the crush and sorrows of Christmas.
When the shepherds were told of Jesus’ birth, there was a good deal of excitement. Anticipation of seeing the Messiah demanded spontaneous travel plans, making arrangements for the sheep, getting cleaned up and their hair done (presumably) deciding what outfit to wear (perhaps), baking and creating gifts to bring to the party (maybe)? Ok, that’s a stretch.
Wonder and Joy
What we do know is the shepherds were filled with wonder and joy. A wonder and joy that could not be contained. The Bible says, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:17-18) Enjoying the Presence of God will fill you with wonder and joy, too. All. Year. Long.
Following the example of the shepherds, I’m going to seek Jesus every day so I can experience the wonder and joy all year long. In spite of changes and losses and angst about what next year holds, I’m going to be purposeful to encounter His wonder and joy.
This week, I hope you’ll ponder and remember Jesus is the reason for Christmas and for celebrations all year long. All the traditions and parties and gifts remind us that Jesus was born and He came to be with us.
Sit in Jesus’ presence and be filled again with His wonder and joy. Find Jesus in your Bible study. In your prayer closet. In your dreams and at your church. Where will you look for him first?
Leave me a comment where you connect best with Jesus to recapture your wonder and joy.
Verse for today: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Prayer: Jesus, you are Immanuel, God with us… then, now and forever. Thank you for your gift. Amen.