Christmas! The season evokes so many emotions.
Excitement for some. Dread for others.
The joyful anticipation and preparation some embrace is a season of begrudging participation for others.
Christmas may evoke new hope, and yet can also be a harsh reminder of past disappointments and dashed hopes.
There’s possibly no other time of year when our expectations run as high, no other time when our mental picture of what we want far exceeds the reality of what is – including how things turn out on Christmas Day. This has certainly been true for me. Not because I’ve had “bad” Christmases, but because my picture of what Christmas could and should look like has been unrealistic and often very misguided.
I wonder if we step back and consider all we’ve desired and the expectations we’ve set for our Christmas celebrations, would they fall in the category of “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”? If I’d gotten the picture-perfect, movie-worthy Christmases I’ve wanted, I would have missed, and possibly been satisfied apart from, the one and only reason for this season.
By definition, Christmas – the Mass / coming of Christ – is a celebration of God coming to earth as a human with physical flesh. He came to live among us, to identify completely with us and exhibit for us how to live by God’s Spirit. Ultimately, He came to die so He could save us:
“You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Many of us make Christmas about much that has nothing to do with Jesus. Consider this:
What if you eliminated everything about Christmas that wasn’t centered in or motivated by a celebration of Jesus? And while I’m not saying that’s necessary, I feel like it’s a question worth asking, a possible revelation of what we’re really seeking.
In pondering this, I’ve changed my expectations! My focus is different. The tree is up, decorations are out, and I’m enjoying them all. But this year, I’m seeking and setting my expectations on an experience of the true meaning of Christmas. Specifically, I want to celebrate Christmas by worshipping and knowing Jesus in the four characteristics used to describe Him in Isaiah 9:6:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called:
Prince of Peace.”
Rather than allowing an unrealistic / materialistic / world-given view of Christmas to drive my holiday expectations, knowing Jesus more intimately in these four ways is my goal. And without going into a way-too-long story, let me say that already this Christmas season I needed to know Jesus as my Wonderful Counselor. In seeking and believing Him for it, He came. He came and gave Biblical insight into a circumstance where I was about to lash out in flesh-based, relationship-damaging, ungodly so-called “wisdom.”
This one incidence of seeking and receiving divine counsel from Him is enhancing my celebration and worship of Him. It can be that way for you too. Amidst all the beauty of your Christmas celebration, or perhaps the complete lack thereof, there’s really only one celebration that is needed. It’s a celebration of Jesus: His coming and an embracing of who He came to be for us.
Will you invite Jesus to come, to advent in your life and thinking as your Wonderful Counselor?
Will you believe Him to be Almighty God in an area where you’ve long known defeat and stopped believing?
Will you trust Him as your Everlasting Father – believing in the goodness of His care, even when your circumstances, possibly the very circumstances of your Christmas celebration, are not what you’d like them to be?
And will you look to Him and yield to Him as your Prince of Peace? Jesus made the way for you to have peace with God. He also made the way for you to be reconciled to others. Will you seek Him for peace?
Will you join me in setting some lofty expectations this Christmas season (and beyond)? These are the ones God invites us to have, the ones we can have because He sent His Son — Immanuel, God with us.
You may also enjoy:
Another post on Isaiah 9: https://judybmills.comhe-will-reign/
More posts to focus your celebration on Jesus: https://judybmills.comthe-holidays-are-coming-plan-now-so-youll-have-no-regrets-later/ and https://judybmills.comthe-greatest-story-ever-told-2/