December 15, 2009
Do You Hear What I Hear?
So much of Christmas is about our feelings. Our nostalgia for Christmas past. Our expectations of Christmas future. And our hopes for Christmas right now. Being a sentimental fool, I love the warm fuzzies of Christmas. But emotions are a fair weathered companion and often lie or mislead.
Years ago I learned Christianity isn’t an emotional experience. We can’t rely on our feelings to tell us whether we are or aren’t a Christian. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but for me it was a revolutionary concept. For years I’d chased elusive feelings believing when I caught them I’d be a Christian. But when the warmth of Christmas (or some other "high") faded, my emotions left with them and I'd be left disappointed and distanced from Jesus once again.
Now, looking at Christmas from the vantage point of a Christian (and also a pragmatic skeptic), I think we waste a lot of time trying to creating something that won’t last and missing the One thing that will.
Christmas isn’t magic. But, Jesus is miraculous. And we have our entire year, not just the Christmas season, to adore/worship/spread goodwill/tell it on the mountain.
With evidence of God’s presence all around, I wonder (as I’m prone to do) why it’s so hard for people to accept His gift of grace?
Why did it take me thirty-some years to finally “get it?”
Why, when churches are filled to the brim on Christmas Eve, don’t more people take Jesus home to grow after visiting Him in the manger?
Why, when we use all the right words and try our hardest, don’t our loved ones believe?
Why, when Jesus is the answer to ALL of life’s problems, don’t more folks reach for the cure?
Why do some people have ears that can hear and others don’t?
I sure don’t have the answers, but I know many of you struggle with the same questions. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
My Christmas expectations may crash and burn. I might lose my cool. I might not get everything done. I might buy the wrong presents. And I’m okay with that. Because I realize that Christmas isn’t a moment to be captured that fades until next year, it’s the start of a story that lasts forever. And I, for one, want to be a part of that story.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’” (Luke 2: 10-11)