Thursday, December 18, 2014

The right focus this Christmas

Every year I seem to get in a funk before Thanksgiving.  It starts when everyone shares all their fun family photos online and my heart gets so sad.  I live in Connecticut and my family is in Canada and I always ache for them more this time of year.  I KNOW that I should focus on my blessings but sometimes the sadness creeps in and lingers before I realize it.  

Then I hear something that shakes me and gets me on track again.  
And I remember all that I have.

2 week ago I attended a MOMS group meeting at my church.  An amazing lady named Lisa spoke about Christmas. She has two grown, married boys plus one young son still at home so she has a wonderful perspective.  First she talked about how early in her marriage she and her husband had different ideas of how Christmas should look.  Then she said this line that really stayed with me:

"I was more focused on tradition, than I was on Christmas."  

There are days I long to be back in my hometown doing Christmas the way we always did...
But just like her, I am focusing on the wrong things!
And truth be told, even if I was back in Canada, Christmas isn't like it was.  Grandparents are gone, my grandmother isn't well enough to host a huge crowd of extended family.  Cousins have grown, moved away or go to their in-laws.  So the idea I have in my head would never play out anyway!  And I get myself all sad over what truthfully would never be!!?


Lisa brought up another point I hadn't considered before as she talked about her married sons.  Did you know that when you have grown kids you have to share them with their significant others' families!  *GASP!*  haha... This is so beyond my scope of thinking right now but it helps me cherish the times I have with my small kids and not get caught up in the madness of it all!  At least I know I'll have them here Christmas morning.  But in the same breath, my Christmas' are so kid-centered these days that I could cry at the idea of them not even being with me on Dec.25th!  So alas, the other point she made that stuck with me:
"I was more focused on people than I was on Christmas."

*gulp!*  I know I'm guilty of that.
I need to focus more on Jesus.  You know, the Christ in Christmas! 
The meaning He brings to Christmas will NEVER EVER change!
One day, my kids aren't going to care about me hiding the angel and sharing fun things each morning.

One day, my kids won't even want to be with me because their lives will take them elsewhere.
The ideal that we get in our heads, may never happen!
I may never get that big family gathering I see in Christmas movies.  
The joy of my holiday is not dependent on my children or the rest of my family.

Jesus is the only true source of genuine joy at Christmas.
The simple fact is... Jesus was born, lived the perfect life and died for me.
Heavy, yes.
Old men in robes aren't as fun as Santa and Frosty either.
But it's history and it's important and it's good to reflect on.

Before I became a believer, I wondered why Jesus had to be born as a baby, grow up and die for us.  Why did He have to die for our sins?  I hated the word "sin" because it sounded so religious!  If God made us and we were all imperfect, why couldn't He just love us as we were?  The whole thing didn't make ANY sense to me.

So I started looking for answers.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." ~Matthew 7:7

And the pieces start coming together.

I had to go back to the Old Testament where the Jewish people did annual sacrifices to God to make it right with Him.  There are a bunch of different types of sacrifices but this is a biggie:

"For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." ~Leviticus 17:11

It was the BLOOD that covered their sins.  That's what "atonement" is.  Jesus was the final sacrifice, the new covenant between God and His people and that's why Jesus is called the lamb of God.  Because of Jesus' blood shed, we are made perfect and can be in God's awesome presence.  But first He had to be born, live a perfect life and then die for us.

So why Jesus...
For His blood.  The lamb.
He is our intercessor to God.  Our priest.
He came to live on this earth over 30 years so is also our example.

So this Christmas as I slow down and really focus on the real reason for Christmas, I am again in awe by the big picture.  My Christmas isn't made good by traditions and people; my Christmas is made good because I love the birthday boy with all my heart!  And this is the season to worship Him!

O come all ye faithful joyful and triumphant
Oh come ye O come ye to Bethlehem;
come and behold him born the King of angels;
O come let us adore him Christ the Lord.

God of God light of light
Lo he not the virgin's womb;
Very God begotten not created:
O come let us adore him Christ The Lord.

Sing choirs of angels sing in exultation
Sing all ye citizens of heaven above;
Glory to God in the highest:
O come, let us adore him, Christ The Lord

See how the shepherds summoned to his cradle,
leaving their flocks, draw nigh with lowly fear
we too will thither hend our joyful footsteps;
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given;
word of the Father, now in flesh appearing:
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

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1 comment:

Amy said...

Love this Mary! Very well written, this is definitely one of my favorite posts that you've shared!