“Too often, the Christmas story only impinges on the periphery of our lives.” ~ Ian Strachan, Today In a Manger
With so much Christmas to celebrate, the danger isn’t about cheer. It’s complicating it so much that we miss out on the story of Jesus, showing up in our today.
I start Christmas as early as I can.
It’s not because I’m a Martha Stewart, itching to hang up long closeted snow men and reindeer embroidered dish towels. It’s not even due to the brightly decked out Christmas tree glowing in my living room, which is considered one of the seven wonders in my world (remember I have two boys under six roaming freely, conducting experiments at whim).
I focus in on celebrating Christmas as soon as Thanksgiving turkey becomes leftover soup.
I do it because Christmas can get so complicated. So, I’ve got my game plan.
I’ve been waiting the whole year to start the season off simply.
Jockeying For Mindshare
Every one is jockeying for mindshare in my holiday. The competition starts the week before Thanksgiving —
* My email box gets crammed with spam, ads announcing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Go shop!
* Television shows get splattered with commercials going CGI with all varieties of animals donning santa hats and snow flakes dancing to the jingle of sleigh bells. Don’t miss out!
* People start talking about parties and concerts. Don’t be left to the side!
* The lines at Target get longer and carts get fuller. You deserve more!
* Planning on how, what, when, with whom to share the holidays gets played out, as another crank around the different scenarios gets turned. Everything must be picture perfect!
The season’s inertia sets off alarms in my inner, spiritual space.
Slow down. Keep Christmas simple for Christ.
Every year the dials are different. This year has carried so many highs and some deep lows, I want to dial everything down and make room for the story of Jesus’ birth.
My hope for Christmas this year is pretty simple.
I want to find myself in the Christmas story. Today.
I am hoping to find a character in the story that God can step me into. I’m wondering whose robes God will have me don this year. It won’t be for a church or school play.
I’m meditating on His story, reading it through the different Gospels, switching shoes, to feel what a walk is like wearing them. For a day or two.
I’m asking God to bring me to a place where I can experience Him simply and get ready for a new year.
So much has changed this year for me. I told my Going Off Script story for the first time to so many. The ripple effects of sharing it has forced me to let go of some things while freeing me to pursue others.
Whenever we step out in faith, our world shifts. We look in the mirror and we don’t quite recognize everything we see — in the world and ourselves. Ways we used to live by don’t fit us any more, while what’s up ahead is still unknown, as we’re still growing into it.
It’s the in-between time. It’s exciting to know things are changing, but it’s more exciting to know that God doesn’t change.
I don’t know what awaits me next year, but I need to make that journey to Bethlehem and return with something new.
I need the ripples to lead me back to where the story of Jesus first began.
There are still presents to buy, Christmas faves to enjoy, and friends to invite over (I don’t want to eat all those Christmas desserts myself!).
But, the underlying guideline on what I do and how I do Christmas this year is this: simplicity.
I’m not going to try to pretend or make Christmas happen.
I will unwrap each new day in faith that His story will hit me where I live today.
We can find Jesus in our everyday realities. He will show us the way.
How are the ripple effects of the year shaping your Christmas?
Remember Jesus can enter into the reality of your story. He is Immanuel today.
They will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
Faith Barista Jam Thursdays — I serve up a topic of faith, you write the post. Keep faith fresh with a faith prompt and add your voice to this community.
Today’s topic: Your Hopes For Christmas
Share your post by clicking on the blue button below “Add Your Link”. You can also share directly by simply commenting below.
Next Thursday 12/9: Share your Unwrapping Jesus Discoveries —
Keep a lookout for:
*1. Ways to celebrate Christmas simply.
*2. Inspiring moments that fill you with God’s love, joy, peace, or hope.
*3. Encouragement to see Christmas in a new way.
*4. A Fresh Take on the Gift of Jesus.
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real. Thanks for serving your personal brews!
Build the Keep Fresh Fresh Community: Link back to Faith Barista or grab this month’s special Christmas Faith Barista Jam Badge to place in your post. Click here.
It’s a jam session. As time allows, say hi & drop a comment when visiting the community faith blends!