Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Advent 2017 #13: When Christmas Changes for the Better

At our small-group Christmas party, we completed a Christmas questionnaire designed to learn more about each other and our Christmases past. Our favorite Christmas movies surprised me. I was the only one who preferred White Christmas and Holiday Inn. The Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, and Home Alone topped the list of the other women's favorites. 

Another question was, "How has your Christmas celebration changed over the last few years?" 

Every single woman's answer was essentially the same. "Simpler. More about Jesus and less about stuff." 

We took a collective pause and pondered for a moment. Jesus. It's all about Him.  

As a child, I loved the excitement of the Christmas holiday. We had a long break from school. Family came from far and near. My grandmother cooked for days - candy, cakes, and pies. She made everyone's favorite. 

My mama was at her sewing machine until late every night, sewing clothes to go under the tree. She transformed the scraps and remnants in the dollar-a-yard box at the fabric store into our clothes for the coming spring. 

It was all about the presents and the food, but it's not anymore. 

We still have presents at my house and with my family. We still have food, and I still try to cook the favorites. It's not as big an extravaganza, though. It's much simpler.

Our celebration is different because I'm different. My priorities, my desires, and my understanding of Jesus have all changed. 

He's not simply the reason for gifts; He's the reason for life itself. 

Once I understood that simple truth, everything about Christmas changed for me. The birth of Jesus was so very simple that a simple gift of worship seemed most appropriate. 

In this country, we've allowed the media and advertising agencies to define our celebration of Christ's birth for decades. It's past time to take back our Holy Day and move our focus to Him. 

I believe a much-needed quiet revolution has already begun. Christmas is only about Jesus and the miracle of our flesh-bound Savior who came because He loved us, died to redeem us, and rose again so He could make a home for us with Him forever. Our focus should be solely on Him.

During the days leading to Christmas, rather than intensify our last-minute shopping and baking, let's intensify our focus on Him. Let's still our hearts, deepen our worship, and broaden our surrender to the One who loved us enough to come and show us The Way. 

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 
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