Christmas decorations, seasonal holiday drinks, lights, Christmas cookies, Secret Santa, shopping, cozy sweaters, putting up the tree, ornaments, yummy food, holiday deals. These are the things that come to my mind first when I think of Christmas time and the holidays. But really! I wrote out that sentence with all of those things that came to mind in 10 seconds. I LOVE the holidays! I love looking forward to these things more and more every year. This time is so great, fun, and quite “merry” in all seriousness. But why are those the things that normally come to our minds when we think “Christmas,” and not the coming of Jesus, Bethlehem, the manger, Christ coming to earth to save us, the Christmas story, the greatest love story of all time, advent?
That’s simply because it is so easy to get wrapped up in all things Christmas once Thanksgiving hits through December 25th. December is a time where we get excited for all of these things I mentioned at the beginning, but we also get stressed when it comes to planning time to see all of the family, traveling, getting all of your decorations up, and getting all of your shopping completed. It may even be a hard time for you, or a lonely time. It’s so easy to get caught up. But it’s so important that we remember the real reason for this season, and stay focused on that.
My boyfriend’s mom got me a book recently called The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas to read during this advent season (she also mailed one to my mom – how sweet!). It’s designed to start reading on December 1st and finish on Christmas, and each day during this time period has a designated reading that day, taking you through a passage in scripture. It then relates scripture back to advent and focuses on why you should spend that day being focused on waiting for the 25th to come, waiting for Jesus to enter the world, waiting for the virgin Mary’s baby to be born. It gives you some questions to think about at the end and a challenge as you enter that day of the advent season.
This has been such a blessing in my life so far just in these first two weeks! It recenters me every day in the midst of this busy holiday season. It reminds me why it’s so important to wait for the 25th to come, to anticipate the birth of Jesus, and really uncover each day in December leading up to Christmas what the birth of Jesus means for me. And everyone else! I just wanted to post this blog to remind every person reading it to recenter this Christmas season. Don’t spend each day focusing on your holiday plans and what gifts you still need to get and what parties you still have to go to. The list is endless! But let’s be real: it always is. Isn’t it? Isn’t the to-do list never ending? Year-round, not just this time of year? So why can’t we spend this time (there’s still time left!) to dwell during advent. Greatly anticipate the birth of Jesus. Celebrate what this time means! It means everything for your salvation.
If you’re reading this, I challenge you to look inward and evaluate what you spend most of your time thinking about during this season, just like I did when I started reading this book. If it’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes and what is on sale at Target right now for the holidays and what gift you want to get your mom or significant other, refocus. Refocus to advent. Refocus to the coming of Jesus Christ to die for your sins and give you an opportunity to be with Him forever!
“Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.”
-Corrie Ten Boom