Wednesday, November 28, 2012

coming out of hiding this christmas

the turkey has been eaten and now, for many of us, the stockings are already hung.  i know it drives some people crazy...the fact that the trees and lights and giant candycanes have crept right in to steal the turkey’s day of honor.  i honestly don’t mind.  for me, blurring the lines between thanksgiving and christmas makes perfect sense. 

a thankful heart at christmas…that's what i'm going for.

not an over-indulgent, shopping, spending, partying heart.
a thankful heart.

sometimes i wonder if we miss out on the real significance of christmas because we are too busy hiding behind all our 'traditions'.

2000 years ago the God of all creation sent his son as one of us.  he voluntarily entered into a hostile place filled with cheaters, murderers, liars, gossipers, self-indulgent sinners.  he came not as a powerful law-enforcing ruler, but...
as a tiny, tender baby.  

He became the light for a dark world.  
We didn't deserve the gift He offered and He didn't have to do it...but perfect love gives freely.  perfect love sacrifices for imperfect people.

today our world is still full of darkness.  we live in despair.  our days are not a perfectly seamless flow of time.  there are bumps and potholes and giant mountains that stand in front of us.

i'm afraid that for me christmas has sometimes meant 'pretty-ing' up the mess that is life.  with the right decorations, the right parties, the right party outfits, the right gifts...maybe this world will really be full of life and light.  we try to take it into our own hands...the saving of the world.  
we busy ourselves every december day trying to make it 'right'...but what we end up celebrating is all that we have done to make this holiday season so festive instead all that He has done to change the world.
what if we let our december days be like every other day and didn't try to hide behind all the fancy decorations.  

what if we acknowledged that no amount of tree trimming or pumpkin pie baking will take away the hurt in our hearts over loved ones lost, dreams deferred, families broken, wars waging, hopes crushed.  

what if we took an honest look at our dark, broken lives and then turned our faces to jesus.  

what if we didn't try to fix it ourselves but instead laid our hearts out as-is in the glow of His light.  

and what if the warm hope we received from that light filled us up and we found ways to pour its streams of brightness into others...what then?

then, maybe we would watch this christmas change the world just like that first one did in bethlehem.  we would position our broken and weary selves right there next to a smelly old animal trough and stare in awe at the precious life-giving gift that was lovingly offered in human form...
     and our hearts would be full of thanks.

worship fully.
spend less.
give more.
love all.
be light.

how are you going to turn this christmas upside-down?