Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Underneath the Layers

I remember hearing John McArthur say one year while he was preaching through the Bible that it just so happened that he came up on the Christmas story smack dab in the heat of the summer.  He wasn't sure how his congregation would react to the whole Christmas in July thing but he said, for him, something wonderful happened.  Without all the action of December, he was able to take in the story of Emmanuel as never before and Christmas would never be the same for him again.  I find myself thinking of what he said throughout the days of December as I struggle to keep my focus.... and as I watch my kids get caught up in the wanting part of the season.  We've done it.  As a culture, we've created all the hoopla that layer upon layer make it difficult to ponder, to worship, to be overjoyed by the history changing event of God using a young woman's womb as the entry way to earth.  To where we are.  To be with us.

The wise men always make me think a little harder as they determined not to let this event go unnoticed by them.  But why?  These guys were Gentiles.  They weren't looking for deliverance from the Roman Empire.  They were looking for a very significant birth, a world-changing arrival, marked in the heavens by the stars the Baby King put in place.  They set out, for possibly two years, focused on their intentions of worshiping this newborn King, checking their precious gifts along the way.   I wonder in those two years of traveling what sort of distractions they experienced.  My guess would be things much more intense than shopping and getting out your family's Christmas greeting.  I love that the wise men journeyed TO GIVE-- their time, their resources, their worship.  They expected nothing in return.   I can't imagine the satisfaction they experienced as they carried out what they had set out to do. Worship the newborn King.

The fact that lists and tasks come more naturally to me does make it more difficult for me to ponder, to worship.  I want to worship.  I want my kids to OWN the reality that there's so much more to Christmas than what they want. In our culture, it's a thick river to swim.  And I've added to the water.

We have a good vision for our family's Christmas.  We have plans and traditions.  We want to do it well.  But I have to ask myself, can we do it better?  Differently?

Father, Thank You for coming to us.  You know my heart.  You know our desires for our children, for us.  Help us to celebrate You well.  Show me what distracts me.......and my kids the most from You.  What can we change?  How can we do it differently?  Thank You for all the sweetness that surrounds this time.  May we dwell on that.  The giving.  The celebration.  The family.  The worship.  The YOU with US.  Amen.

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