I enjoy watching the Christmas Hallmark movies each year. Despite the mediocre acting I just can’t help myself. The sets are perfectly orchestrated with the fake snow shoveled against the only bakery in a quaint little town of 400 where every one knows every one and that ONE person is having a crossroads crisis- Does she stay in her small hometown where her first love resides or go back to the big city chasing after her dreams?
There are the dressed up carolers, a cute school Christmas play, festive sweaters, a Santa who seems to know everything before you do (a little creepy) and every house on the block is decorated by HGTV. Seriously. And I buy into all of it. Sold! They have a way of sweeping up my emotions into these unrealistic platforms by making everything feel so Christmas-ey.
After the 90 minutes of Hallmark-ing I come back into my own little world, aka, real life and I remember that those warm fuzzies are so fleeting. Christmas is not just a feeling, it’s knowing. When our emotions betray us, hiding our eyes from the Beauty before our hungry souls we must actively remember the Jesus Story. Tell ourselves the Gospel as we gaze onto the glimmering lights from the tree, because on another Tree Jesus gave His life for the lifeless. Marvel His Love come down as you ponder the significance of your Jesse tree ornaments. What do these mean? What does the apple and the serpent represent? What does Noah’s ark say of God’s character? What does any of this have to do with Christmas?
Flood of grace over a flood of sin?
Saving a chosen, obedient family over the swirling waters that could engulf them at any moment by God’s command, God carried Noah and his family as He carries us over the murky ocean of sin and despair.
If you’re like me December has already brought a few days marked with heartache, stress, frustration, impatience, and a lack of love. Those things are not put on hold just because the calendar says it’s the Christmas season. People die, hard workers get laid off from their jobs, little ones get sick, and you get sick, tough decisions still need to be made. So what happens when we don’t feel like Christmas?
Go to the One who started it all, from the very good beginning. He knows your heart all too well, more than you know it yourself. He sees you tired from a day’s work of hurry, hurry, hurry. He notices the lonely among the crowded shuffle. Notice Him back this Christmas. Look and see what God has done by going back to the Scriptures. In her book, The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp says “And you could wake on Christmas only to grasp that you never took the whole of the Gift, the wide expanse of grace. So now we pause. Still. Ponder. Hush. Wait. Each day of Advent, He gives you the gift of time, so you have time to be still and wait.” We need soul food, the Living Bread to fill us up and remind our minds to comfort our hearts.
Not everything will look like a scene straight out of a Hallmark movie and that’s okay because that isn’t what Christmas is all about anyway. Real life still happens and functions in a sin cursed, heavy burdened world. “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved” (Romans 8:22-24 NIV).
This is why we need to seek Christ in a season of parties, plays, music, gift- wrapping, cookie decorating and tree trimming. Not that any of these things are wrong, but also leave room for the quiet. This world is loud and screams for lights, camera, action! But Jesus, in meekness and humility came in the dead of night, to a hurting world in need of a Savior. Don’t miss it this Christmas.
When you don’t feel like you have the Christmas spirit, enter into His Presence. Take time to read His Love Story and be reminded that on the first Christmas, God gave us all The Greatest Gift, Jesus the Son of God.
Grace upon grace,