There’s a fantasy Christmas I’ve constructed in my mind. Maybe you have one too? During this fantasy Christmas season, I eat all of the most scrumptious treats without gaining a pound. I watch all of my favorite Christmas movies and listen to all of my favorite Christmas music. The lovely season is devoid of family conflict or marital strife.
But try as I may, Christmas is rarely a celebration without its flaws. Maybe you can relate to this as well? Whether you’re grieving the loss of a loved one or trying not to compare your Christmas decor to the amazing photos you scroll past on Instagram, it can be a difficult time.
I love Christmas. I always have. I love the music, the lights, the jolly attitudes—everything seems happy and fun. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to notice that my love for Christmas has morphed into a desire for the “picture perfect” Christmas. I can’t stand the thought of anything untoward during this season that is supposed to be full of love and good cheer.
When I think about how I’ve been disappointed in years past by Christmas dreams that didn’t come true, I realize how I have completely missed the point of Christmas. As cliché as it sounds, Jesus is the reason for the season. The purpose of Advent is to remember our need for Jesus and return to our expectation of His coming. The beauty of Christmas is found when we celebrate His humble beginnings and praise Him for His sacrificial gift to us.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying Christmas music, movies, and decorations. But when I allow my fantasy Christmas to become an idol in my heart, I’ve replaced the true meaning of God’s gift with a cheap substitute. As long as we are here on earth, there will be a longing in our hearts for our true home. We will always long for the completion that can only come from our Savior.
Jesus came as Emmanuel, God with us. He is with us in the self-imposed stresses of gift buying, cookie baking, and house decorating. He is with us when we are hurt by a loved one or left out of a social gathering. He is with us when we cannot see past the grief of yet another holiday without a loved one who has passed away, or the unfulfilled dream of marriage or motherhood. He is with us.
As is true in any season, we can choose where to fix our eyes during Christmas. Do we look around at all that we lack and all that God has yet to do in our lives and in the lives of those around us? Or do we choose instead to thank Him for everything He has already done and for the gift of His precious Son? How can we choose to fix our eyes on Jesus in this season that begs for our attention in so many lesser places?
- We keep ourselves immersed in the Word.
- We take periodic breaks from social media.
- We give ourselves and others around us grace.
- We look for ways to be a blessing to others instead of hoping to be blessed by them.
- We don’t try to do it all.
- We ask the Father to give us a fresh filling of His Spirit each day.
Jesus came to this earth to remind us that there is always more to be found in Him. Let’s fix our eyes on Him and rest in the wonderful gift of His presence.
Scripture for Reflection and Meditation:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:8–10)
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.