Monday, January 28, 2013

It All Points to Jesus

These are thoughts that piled up like presents under the tree from Christmas last month. 

The Sandy Hook tragedy shook me like no other one of recent years has. I'm not sure why. I do have a seven year old and so I could very quickly relate to those mothers. I felt it more acutely. Maybe because this year, of all years, I'm allowing sorrow to enter my life to a greater extent and letting God bring me through it. In the past, I would have ignored it, shut it out, shrugged it off. The tragedy was close on the heels of our friend's death; a friend's father dying; a few short months away from another's friends' daughter passing; I know things that I now know and personal brokenness is just breaths away from consuming me. It has not been an easy year. 

I thought of them all and I couldn't help but think in the middle of all of it- Shouldn't all of this point us to Jesus? We usually celebrate Christmas as a joyous time, which it still is but maybe we forget that we can have both joy and sorrow at the same time. We don't like that. We will choose one and ignore the other.

Many voiced their fears. You can take any situation and turn it into something to fear. Or you can take your fears to the Perfect Love who has driven out all fear (1 John 4:18). Zechariah's song in Luke 1:74-75
To rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Zechariah was speaking about the Israelites specifically but the promise is true for all believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world (1 John 4:18).

We pulled out our very favorite Christmas books to read aloud. The Herdman's from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Truthfully, I've always thought them still off, even when Imogene finally hollars for the whole congregation to hear, "Hey, unto you a child is born!". But this year I marveled at how they didn't know a single thing about the Christmas story and once they found out a little they wanted to know it all. So they ransacked the local library to find out more and it turned out more fantastical than their comic books. The story struck me fresh and new.  
In The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, we learn Jonathan Toomey has let the sadness in his life turn to bitterness. Pish posh, he says to everything even remotely nice.   His countenance changes when he decides to pull out the most hurtful part of his life and work through it. Though I have a dresser drawer full of hurts still to sort through, I'm not Jonathan Toomey anymore.
I didn't really consider Moosletoe to be that great of a book before. Truthfully, I rolled my eyes when Luke said he wanted to read it. A moose family, with hair galore and a pop that would deck the halls for the family (instead of the mom)! But as I sat and read it, I noticed my own not so perfectly perfect holiday home and I became very okay with it.

This year was our most non-traditional Christmas of all. We celebrated Christmas with Bill's family at Thanksgiving in a condo in Missouri. We were not going to celebrate with my side of the family because my parents went to visit my brother and family who are in California. In fact, they were taking Audrey with them and would be gone over Christmas so she wouldn't even be home. I purchased the smallest tree I could find from Lowe's two hours before a big snow storm hit. I strung the lights (smallest tree ever- still ran out. I have a light problem. hee her) and then Ben declared the kids were decorating this one and we were not having Pinterest perfect tree this year. I was going to make a few kinds of cookies and candies as we always do. I made two batches of sour cream cookies and that was all. I kept the decorating so minimal this year. Our advent calendar, one table top and the tree.

I spent some time with my friend Lisa the day before Christmas. I finally voiced what I felt. Sometimes we have traditions for the sake of traditions and those should really be kept loosely at hand. Bill is a big believer of that and it's taken years of gentle patience to work my grip looser. But sometimes our traditions help point us in the direction our hearts need to go and I was worried that we might miss Christmas because we weren't doing Christmas.

Once Audrey arrived home from California, we all sat together to have our celebration. Bill took up the Bible and began to read from almost the beginning of Luke. Normally he starts in Luke 2, but for some reason he started in Luke 1 with the birth of John the Baptist being foretold. We found a lot of interest in the purpose of John- "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord". God sent someone to get their hearts ready to receive Jesus. 

As we packed up one day to spend time with my sister and her family, Luke said to me "I can't wait for Ariana and Chiara to open their gifts!" He was so happy to be able to share with them (he could have also been a little eager to receive, as well). I asked "Don't you think God felt the same way when Jesus was about to be born?" I guess I've always imagined that God was a little sorrowful for parting with his Son so that Jesus could come to earth. Imagined it as a selfish sorrow. My Luke's enthusiasm gave me a different perspective. It wasn't just that God gave his only son, his best son, he gave him willingly, eagerly, delightedly. All of time had been pointing toward this one gift, this one birth, this one Jesus.

How long do you think Jesus was born before the angels burst out of the heavens?
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests!" 


1 comment:

  1. I think I enjoy reflecting on it more now that the holidays are over. It stands out instead of getting lumped in with all the other things.

    Don't think I have every thought about God's excitement at the anticipation of giving Jesus to us and waiting to see the look on our faces like a kid getting presents. Love it! And may be more accurate than focusing on God's sorrow at letting Him go.


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