"I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever." Psalm 86:12

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Just Doesn't "Feel Like Christmas"

"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 presets under the tree
- spending time with family
- watching Christmas movies
- sitting by the fire

These 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.


What 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.
These 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.

So 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.

There 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.

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