Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Preparation

Christmas is coming faster than I’d like, and as a mom, I tend to see this season differently than my children. I see the baking to do, the halls to deck, the presents to buy, the advent calendar to stuff and the must-see sights of winter to fit in between Christmas cards and crafting until I’ve mod podged my hair to my apron. My kids? They see the wonder of Christmas lights splashing color in the dark of winter, the devotion of a family who delights in time together, the miracle of love in action as presents arrive on our doorstep, the anticipation of the next advent door.

And it makes me ask myself: Do I still see the wonder… of a Holy God who put on flesh and stepped into time? Do I grasp the devotion… of this relentless God-love? Do I understand the miracle… of love in action for me, for all the people? Do I anticipate… the Savior of the world, my Hero?

All those years ago, in a stable because there was no room in the inn, a young mother was full of anticipation. She was not focused on her circumstances but delighting in a Truth the world couldn’t possibly understand yet. She was not busying herself with activity but expecting the greatest Gift the world could never earn… destined to arrive just as God had promised, in a little town called Bethlehem, “House of Bread”. Through her womb the Bread of Life would stretch her and change her and scar her from the inside out and she would remember this Gift that came through her labor of anticipation and she would never be the same. She would come face to face with the God that gives and redeems and delivers, even in a barn. Mary anticipated a son, the Son. For nine months. She had conversations with God, and she bowed in humility to rise up in courage and deliver the Deliverer.

This side of Calvary, I understand too, but my children don’t, not yet, not fully. And still, they are full of anticipation. Intellectually, I know full well why we celebrate December 25th. My kids have only scratched the surface. “It’s Jesus’ birthday! How old will He be this year, Mama?” Only. the. surface. So, knowing what I know, seeing what I’ve seen, do I anticipate like they do? Do I even scratch the surface?

This Christmas, am I preparing my heart? Am I preparing a place for the Babe in the manger? So He can reach me? So, I can reach them? I understand so much more than my children could possibly grasp. Are they learning from me? If I am hurried how can my children ever learn to be still? If I am focused on the activity how will they ever learn about His love? If I don’t anticipate my Savior, how will they know they can? Shouldn’t everything I do this Christmas season point my children to the greatest story ever written, the Great Rescue that began that Holy Night? Immanuel, God with us, dwelling among us. The Word that became flesh. Shouldn’t any activity be fueled by the Love that couldn’t live without us, that gave us a reason to celebrate?

Maybe it’s time for this mama to let go of the grand plans of Christmas and delight in the simplicity and joy of pouring over this Christmas story with my family, of anticipating His arrival so desperately that He comes crashing into our hearts and changes us from the inside out.

Want to join me? I’ll be working through this amazing Advent calendar with my kiddos. Oh, it’s always fun to do things together!

If you don't have kids or this does not fit your kids’ ages, you can join me in this Jesse Tree Devotional, which is AmAzInG for your Christmas quiet time and follows the traditional Advent calendar! Advent officially started Sunday, November 27.

O Lord, we anticipate your coming… change us from the inside out, for your glory. Amen.