Today I Saw God
Being Christian at Christmas
It's already Decemberhow did that happen?! Just a minute ago, I was packing a U-Haul to take my son to his new apartment at college, and now I have to finalize my plans for Christmas before it's too late!
As my calendar slowly fills for the month (company holiday party, nonprofit fundraiser, professional networking events, holiday celebration nights out with friends, dinner parties), and I save a few late nights for shopping, wrapping and baking, I wonder, when can I fit in Jesus? Despite attempts to try and simplify the celebrations that come with the weeks leading up to Christmas, the joyful, festive sights and sounds in the air make it difficult to be still and focus on what the whole world is celebrating.
Any nonbeliever can tell you that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus this season, but some may wonder what our cherished traditions around carols, extravagant decorations and Santa have to do with this mysterious holiday that is so grand that even the department stores get in on the act.
A few years ago, I took the time to consider whether my deep love of family Christmas traditions, beautiful decorations, Christmas carols and festive gatherings of friends and family were just part of a meaningless lifelong routine or if they were in any way connected to my equally deep passion to honor the amazing gift to mankind, the Savior of my soulthe birth of Jesus, the Christ. The good news is I see the connection as clear as if the Star was shining over my head, and I hope that I am able to express the connection to all I encounter during this, my most favorite time of year.
When I decorate my tree, each ornament tells a story, and I am reminded of the rich blessings I have through my family. As I trim the banister, I always take extra care to make sure my guests are greeted with enough sparkle to make them smile but also with a balance of serious sophistication to speak to the awe and humility I feel at the magnitude of this holiday.
We have at least eight nativity scenes spread around the house to ensure a constant reminder of the big event. When I entertain over the Christmas season, it is to extend warm, joyful hospitality in hopes that my guests feel as loved as I do just because of Christmas. When I sing, I sing as loud as I can because I can't contain the joy that fills me with the familiar tunes and cherished words. When I shop, I take forever, because I want the recipient to see the personal touch behind the gift just like God, choosing an adorable baby to capture our attention. Christmas meals are served on the finest linens and china I have because I feel the presence of Jesus at the table with us.
I secretly wonder sometimes why there is so much talk about the stress people find during the Christmas season because I approach it as if I am preparing to have the Son of God come to my house. And although I want everything to be perfect, I know that once the guest of honor arrives, I can just sit at his feet and soak in his presence.
The last people that should be miserable at Christmas are Christians. If friends and family ask why you do so much to prepare for Christmas, consider telling them it's because the King of Glory is coming in a few days, and you want him to know how grateful you are that he choose you to come and save. We should be shining as brightly as the famous Star of Wonder, so that we too can lead others to the sweet baby Jesus, the greatest gift of all.