"It just doesn't feel like Christmas." I've found myself saying this phrase a few times over the past two weeks. Many of you know my mom has been fighting a battle with ovarian cancer for the past two years, and now her battle is coming to an end. Not because she's lost, but because she is winning and gets to go home and walk with Jesus soon. She has victory in Him. So this Christmas season has been a little...well, a lot different for us.
So, what makes Christmas "feel like Christmas?"
- cold weather
- sing-along Christmas songs
- putting up the Christmas tree
- buying and wrapping presents
- seeing presents under the tree
- spending time with family
- watching Christmas movies
- sitting by the fire
are typically the things that make Christmas.... Christmas. No matter
how much we may say that Christ is the center, He still gets put on the
back burner. And in an effort to solidify our claim that Christ is
indeed the focus, we might pull out our Bible on Christmas morning, read
about the birth of Christ and pray before we tear into all the pretty
wrappings under the tree.
This year has been a reality check for our
family. All those things that make Christmas "feel like Christmas"
really haven't mattered this year. For the first time I have truly seen
just how meaningless and futile all the hustle and bustle really is.
Fretting over that perfect gift or panicking over the last-minute ones.
Getting the ribbons and bows on your tree just right. Being the most
creative or "Pinterest-worthy" with your gift wrapping.
does matter....is hope. When all the glitz and glamor are stripped
away, it may seem like there is nothing left to celebrate. Somehow Jesus
has become an afterthought, or a thought only saved for the Christmas
Eve service at church, and then it's back to gingerbread houses,
Christmas movies and candy canes. But what if all those things are taken
away from you? What if your only reason to rejoice really is the birth
of our Savior? Can you really rejoice in that? No presents. No
stockings. No traditions. Just Jesus.
This is basically what our family is experiencing this Christmas season - just Jesus.
past two weeks we have been watching and waiting for my mom to enter
her final days and final moments. What do you buy someone who will no
longer be here in just a few short moments? It's an odd question. But
the answer is easy. It's nothing. You don't buy them anything because
you realize they are leaving this earth - going to another home where
they can't take anything with them. This is ultimately the reality for
all of us.
This earth is not our
home. Nothing here can satisfy us. Nothing can bring us joy. Nothing can
fill the hole in our hearts that is a Jesus-shaped puzzle piece.
while this Christmas has been drastically different from any other I've
experienced, I realize more than ever how thankful I am for Jesus. For
the hope He gives us. For His peace and His grace. For without these
things, there would be no reason to wake up each morning. And there
would also be no Christmas morning.
Yes, I am losing my mom. Very
soon. Much sooner than I would have ever imagined. But I still have so much to gain. Jesus has so much in store this
Christmas. It's what He wants to give us every Christmas and everyday of
our lives, but somehow we become too busy, too frantic and too
distracted to hear or see Him.
My husband and I have still managed
to find time to buy each other a few gifts. But this year I had to
really rack my brain to come up with a short wish list. Because more
than that new book and some new bath products, what I really want is
peace. I want joy. I want hope. I want to know that everything will be
okay. That all this really does work for my good and His glory. Those
things can't be bought. And those are the things that Jesus wants to
give us! That's why He came! That's what Christmas is really about.
So what SHOULD make Christmas "feel like Christmas?"
- rejoicing in the fact that we have a reason to hope.
- rejoicing because He gives us peace.
- rejoicing because He satisfies our hearts.
- rejoicing in the birth of Jesus.
is nothing wrong with enjoying family time, putting up the Christmas
tree and opening presents. But I hope for myself, and for you, that
these will no longer be the things that make Christmas feel like
Christmas. Jesus is what makes Christmas feel like Christmas - in the
hope, joy, peace and salvation He brings.