White, twinkling lights. Red and green decorations scattered through the house. The smell of pine needles from the Christmas tree. Icing left on the counter from the cookies baking in the oven. All the different types of snowflakes falling outside the window.
These are some of my favorite things.
Picking out the perfect gift and giggling as you find the perfect hiding place for it. Caroling down the street. Signing dozens of Christmas cards.
These are just a few of the things I love about Christmas.
But when I stop and pause, looking around at all of these things I love, I know this isn't all that Christmas is to me.
And it shouldn't be all that Christmas means to you either.
I pause and wonder as I watch the busy shoppers strategically weave in and out of the different stores in the mall. Or as I help customers where I work find the perfect gift. I wonder...could we be missing it all?
Could we be missing the meaning in all of the excitement?
I see the santa clause figurines lining the Walmart aisles and I wonder. What happened to the true meaning of it all?
And then I look deeper.
I look into the weary faces of the shoppers and I see it more clearly. I look into the heart of the grumpy store clerks and I understand. I look into the empty eyes of the man shivering on the street corner and I know.
You see, there's more to all of this.
Thank God, there's so much more.
The world is broken. I can see it in the eyes of the people I pass. I can see it in the flurry of excitement and busyness. The way we try to hide it and mask it and make it go away just for now. In our brokenness we think staying busy with the cookie making or shopping lists or gingerbread decorating will somehow make us complete again.
But it doesn't, does it?
And I look around again and I know that in the middle of everyone singing the carols of joy, there are those who feel anything but joy. There are the broken. The broken in all of us.
And if the meaning of Christmas was simply decorating the perfect tree or finding the best gift, we surely would be lost in our brokenness forever.
But God. Oh, praise God.
You see, what I love most about Christmas is Him. The Baby in the manger, sending a cry of hope into a dark night. The tired Mary and Joseph in awe of the Child they have been given. The star that reaches across the sky to declare, "He is here. He has finally come. Hope...hope is here."
Emmanuel. God with us.
That is what Christmas means to me.
The God who created me stepping into my world so that He could make me a part of His again. The God who loved me deciding to bear my brokenness so that I would never have to bear it alone again. The God who loved me choosing me. Choosing you.
If that's not hope I don't know what is.
Wherever your brokenness has you tonight, it's going to be okay. I promise.
Because the Baby born in that manger so many nights ago came to make you whole again. He is here with you. In this moment. Emmanuel.
Lift your head and take hold of Him.
He has always loved you....and He always will.
Merry Christmas, friends.
"Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."