Today is Dec. 6, and so the countdown begins! Only 19 more days until Christmas....
I went shopping a few weeks ago, and let me tell you, as much as I enjoy picking and choosing my way through little Jonah's wishlist, it's a bit daunting. While I was scanning the rows of an incredibly mommy and grandmammy-packed Toys-R-Us, I remembered for a glimpsing moment that "this - this crazy shopping, buying, consuming, consuming, spending...it's not what Christmas is about."
Don't get me wrong. I love it all at the same time - but I don't want to become engulfed by the mass marketing agenda of the commercialized Christmas that most of us have grown up with...in fact, I am taking special care this year to remind myself, Jonah and now, you. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus, and the promises associated with such a miracle!
I signed up a few weeks ago for Max Lucado's Oak Hills Devotional, which is a nice slice of reality in my otherwise sometimes bogged-down business day. This week there have been several great excerpts, but this one got my attention:
They shall call His name Immanuel,
which is translated,
“God with us.”
Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)
God’s treatment for insignificance won’t lead you to a bar or dating service, a spouse or social club. God’s ultimate cure for the common life takes you to a manger. The babe of Bethlehem. Immanuel. Remember the promise of the angel? “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matt. 1:23 NKJV).
Immanuel. The name appears in the same Hebrew form as it did two thousand years ago. “Immanu” means “with us.” “El” refers to Elohim, or God. Not an “above us God” or a “somewhere in the neighborhood God.” He came as the “with us God.” God with us.
Not “God with the rich” or “God with the religious.” But God with us. All of us. Russians, Germans, Buddhists, Mormons, truckdrivers and taxi drivers, librarians. God with us.
God with us, God with me and all the other stressed-out mommas and dad's trying to meet our kid's wants at Christmas. God with me coping with my life changes...God with my son as he grows up and sees changes...God with my enemies...God with my parents...God with you!
This year, Christmas is different to me. Usually I'm stressed to the ultra-max (my friends can attest to this...) because I want to host parties, make tons of jewelry, have those parties, have all of my decor matchy-smatchy, etc. The list goes on and on. This year, my Christmas tree fell the night I put it up... and broke some of my ornaments. When Jonah discovered it the next day, we just kind of laughed and righted it again. We swept up the ornaments that said something like "1999" and "Merry Christmas." No big. No stress. No worries. I bought snowflake lights that I had great plans for...the little girl next door doesn't have lights, so while we were putting them up, I just realized: I'd rather her have something festive than for me to have my perfection.
We have big, gigantic, what-I-would-have-called-near-gaaaaaawdy lights on our tree too. Jonah loves them. My twinkling, cute white lights got jousted. That makes me happy (:
Here's to a special blessing for you and yours during this holiday season. May you remember to breath and relax...and enjoy. May you feel God's presence and ultimate plan for you! May you have health and happiness in the coming year!