Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ryder’s Take on Christmas

Christmas was already in full swing.

My daughter-in-law, Annie had taken her two little guys, Isaac and Ryder, to a well-known chain store. Visiting the Christmas aisle was always a highlight. It was decorated to the hilt with all the usual Christmas trappings: trees and lights and ornaments and lots of gaily wrapped but empty presents. They strolled casually up and down the aisles, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the displays.

Almost two-years-old, Ryder suddenly stopped, looking around intently. Obviously he was looking for something in particular. Not finding what he was searching for, he turned to his mom, shrugging with a puzzled look.

His question to her? “Where baby Jesus?”

Ryder nailed it. In all the twinkling lights or beautiful decorations, the most important part of Christmas was nowhere to be seen.

 Christmas decorations 2

“Where baby Jesus?”

We call Him “the reason for the season”. And as followers of Jesus, we know it is true. But so often we let the busyness of buying and wrapping presents, the parties, and the annual Christmas letter be what consumes us. It begins to feel like that is what Christmas is all about.

“Where baby Jesus?”

Have we lost sight of Him in all the fun and family times? Have we forgotten Him in all the doing and details of celebrating? Have we pushed Him aside in all the busyness and baking?

So in thinking about this I decided I need to give Jesus a gift; time. Time to just sit with Him, pondering the miracle of God in human form. Time to thank Him for the kind of incomprehensible love that drove Him to leave heaven and take on the form of a baby. Time to praise Him that the wonder and joy of knowing Him, the God of all creation, is His free gift of grace to me.

In doing that, I find Him all over again. And He makes it Christmas. Because ultimately, Christmas without Jesus is like one of those presents Isaac and Ryder saw under the trees that day; beautiful on the outside, but still empty on the inside.

“Where baby Jesus?” Ryder, He is in the hearts of all who love Him.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.                                                                                                                John 1:14

  1. Stop for a moment. Ponder what life would be like if Jesus had not come.
  2. Write out your prayer, thanking Jesus for who He is and what He accomplished on your behalf.

Father, I look around and enjoy all the fun trappings of Christmas; the lights, the goodies, and time to spend with family. But none of it has meaning apart from You. You gave up heaven, so that I might join You there someday. You sacrificed Yourself, so God could forgive me for all the wrong I do. And nothing, nothing! can compare with the joy of belonging to You. Please be foremost in my heart this Christmas.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Anticipation

It’s December—let the merriment begin!

At my house Christmas is more of an entire season rather than a single day. And it begins on December 1st. To kick if off the Montgomerys have a tradition; all my kids—and now my grandkids—get a present that day.

It’s never an expensive gift. When the kids were young it might be Christmas socks, Christmas earrings, a Christmas t-shirt, or Christmas boxers. It really didn’t matter what it was. The point was to mark the start of the season, and point ahead to what was coming—the day of Christmas itself!

christmas_present

December 1st is only a foretaste of Christmas, but as a result, the whole month is filled with anticipation of the fulfillment of its promise.

It was a great idea, but it was God’s idea first. You see, He has given us the promise of heaven. That promise isn’t fulfilled yet, but He has given us a deposit guaranteeing that it really is coming; His Spirit.

When we first received Jesus as Savior, it marked the beginning of not only a new season, but a whole new eternity! Those of us who have chosen to follow Him know that living with Him in heaven is promised to us. It’s coming, but sometimes it seems like a long ways off. God gives us the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing that He will fulfill that promise.

It is His Spirit that speaks truth into my heart when the faint stirrings of doubt creep in. It’s His Spirit that affirms His love for me when I feel unlovable. And it is His Spirit that reminds me that heaven really is coming!

It’s way better than any December 1st present, and it’s only part of what’s coming!

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.        Ephesians 3:13-14

Further reflection:

  1. Does your family have any unique Christmas traditions?
  2. How do they point to the fulfillment of God’s promises?

Father, thank You not only for the promise of heaven, but that You gave us Your Spirit to guarantee its fulfillment. My heart leaps in anticipation of what it will be like to live with You forever.