It is Christmas Eve and I have spent the day with family in front of a roaring fire working on a Christmas puzzle. My perfect day of holiday celebration but it does not complete my yearly, holiday desire.
Every year I hope the Christmas season will be more meaningful . . . to me. I look forward to each December, Sunday worship service to enjoy a special closeness with God as we sing carols and revisit the familiar Bible scriptures. I want to look into the clear, cold night sky and have God reveal himself to me in a mighty way. I want to be filled and moved and immersed in the incredible gift we are celebrating . . . but I’m not. Why?
Amy Grant sings the song “I Need a Silent Night” which is an excellent description of what I feel. Even as I mature and grow spiritually the holidays more often seem rushed and tension filled. Reading through holiday cards, articles, blogs, etc. there is no lack of council on the “true meaning of Christmas” and how we should feel, should respond, should behave. I completely agree but never fully achieve these dictates. Why?
Pondering this for yet another year God revealed to me my disobedience. In the midst of making holiday cheer my personal quiet time is lost, my prayers are stunted and brisk and I do less to seek His face during the celebration of His birth. At a time when I want to feel His closeness the most I have turned away seeking holiday fun, cheer, memories in a manner that does not include Him.
The Christmas season should see an increase in my time with Jesus. Quiet time should be an extended priority with more time allotted to read, pray and sit in the presence. This should be a present I give to myself which in the end is a present I give to everyone else. By meeting my own expectations of the season I will prepare myself to meet the expectations that come with the season. It is my own disobedience that robs me of the joy of Christmas.
Others clearly share my dilemma so I will pray for you and for me that we will start each season in continued obedience to Christ with our Bibles in hand, in extended quiet time, sitting in the presence of our Lord while celebrating His birth, perhaps on a silent night after a crazy day.