There is so much to look forward to at Christmastime. Santa, presents, the dawn of Christmas morning, the smell of roast beast in the oven, the sound of carols in the candlelight at Christmas Eve service. So much to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. And yet there is still more.
One of my goals this Christmas is to be intentional about remembering that Jesus is coming. While I see my nativities proudly displayed on shelves in my home, I remember that He did come once. He did come and when He did, He changed the world and the destiny of everyone. Jesus made it possible for you and me to be completely forgiven, cleansed, righteous, able to enter into the presence of our perfect Heavenly Father. He made eternal life a reality for us. You could say His little manger rocked the world.
While Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection is real and true and worth all the celebrating, there is still more. He is still coming. He comes every day into my heart to bring peace that the world tries to steal away. He brings me favor when I feel defeated. He brings me joy when there is drudgery. He brings me hope when the sin in my heart and the sin in the world seems too senseless and awful and heartbreaking and I am desperate. He reminds me that He is IN THIS MOMENT healing and loving and yearning for all hearts to choose Him. And when He comes a second time, everything will be healed and whole and made just right again. Just like it’s supposed to be.
I’ve enjoyed holding tightly to the hope I have in Christ Jesus this week during Advent. I’ve needed hope this week. During Christmas, we are supposed to sing and give and feast not because all is right in this broken world, but because we have hope for the day when it will be new and right and good. We get to hope for the coming of Jesus, for that time when He promises no more tears or death or illness or hunger or thirst. Hope is essential to keeping the faith, to taking a new step forward, to comforting those who need to know that God is with us in our suffering and one day, Jesus will return and make all things new again, just as they were originally meant to be. Nothing can stop Him. His first coming in the manger was an incredible, humanity-saving miracle, and His second coming won’t disappoint either.
So, prepare your hearts, everyone. Prepare for Jesus to come back and replace our broken chaos with a perfectly harmonious world. Our posture and our faith, our very hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, can bring hope to others. Don’t forget in the midst of present-buying and card-signing and carol-singing to prepare your heart for that great day when Jesus comes back again. On Christmas morning, my children giggle and hug and beam huge smiles and tear wrapping paper and spin and dance and run in sugar-fed delight. I’ve learned much from them about anticipating and celebrating. May we eagerly anticipate Christ’s coming far more than any child anticipates Christmas morning.
“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’” Revelation 21:2-5a
He is coming!
Christmas Family Traditions We Enjoy
Our family strives to refocus on celebrating Christ’s coming in different ways during the holiday season. One thing we do is to read the traditional passages of scripture associated with the Jesse tree and hang a new ornament on the tree each night from December 1 until December 24. (If we have to skip a night, we do double duty the next day. 😉
I also stole a tradition from a dear friend years ago where I wrap Christmas books and put them under the tree. We have about 15 books (I started with around five but added one or two each year through the years), so around December 10, we start unwrapping one book every night. Most are picture books my youngest can even enjoy. It gives the kids a chance to open something each night (even though they are the same books every year), and then they can sit by the tree reading the books we’ve already opened as we move through the Christmas season and anticipate which book will be next.
If you have another suggestion of something your family does to help keep the focus during Christmas, feel free to share!