We are in full swing of all things Christmas around our house! My middle son is currently getting frustrated at his gingerbread house because the frosting isn’t holding his little colored candies. In the words of the great Christmas thinker, Buddy the Elf, he is an angry elf, at least for the moment. Baseball practices have already begun, as is typical for December, so right next to our “kid” tree that is decked with far too pricey Hallmark ornaments is a giant batting cage so that the boys can hit baseballs off of a tee. We’ve had several casualties. The kids are high on the Christmas spirit, so there has been lots of extra shenanigans that just make this momma tired. And that is what “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” actually looks like in this house. We do have lots of fun together and some sweet family traditions but still it’s busy, it’s messy and it’s not Pinterest perfect. So, I am taking a little bit of time off of my normal responsibilities while my kids are still in school this week to be still in the midst of this full season. Time to reconnect with Jesus, my family and friends, and even my own heart. I’ve been able to “walk slow” the last few days, like a dear friend reminded me to do last week during a very demanding few days. It’s funny how this walking slow changes how I see things, how it reveals perspectives I would have missed in the rush.
I’ve had a little time to read, write or just sit and dream about what God is calling me to in the future. The kind of dreaming where the deepest desires of my heart are put into motion within the confines of my mind. Dreams spring forth from our hearts and take shape in our minds as we process how these ideas can actually come to fruition. This fall, I participated in a Bible study in which one of the sessions focused on the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10. Jesus, as was typical during his life on earth, asked Bartimaeus a provoking question. Jesus asked him “What do you want me to do for you?” Blind Bartimaeus wanted to see, that part was obvious. But then we were challenged to sit with God for a bit and name our own desires in Jesus’ presence. I wish I could tell you I had some profound, impressive response. I did not. I want what everyone else wants. Health for my family, money to pay our bills and a comfortable life. I hit a wall and had a hard time naming a desire underneath some of the surface desires all humans have in common. But then John 17:20-25 came to my attention and I’ve been turning these holy words over in my mind for the last few weeks. At the end of Jesus’ prayer to the Father, he lays the desire of his heart out on the table. What was Jesus’ desire? What did Jesus want? He desired that those whom the Father had given him would live in unity with one another so that the world would know him and that His people would be with Him forever and see his glory. As a follower of Jesus, shouldn’t my truest desires be reflective of his? What if all of my desires stemmed from Jesus’ desire to see me living in spiritual union with him and others and to be together in His glory. The King of the universe has declared that He desires to be with his people. That truth should impact our desires. The Christian faith is distinctly different in this way. We serve and love a God in response to His sacrificial love for us. He loved us first. He served us first. He was one with the Father first. He came for us first. And we love him and experience unity with him and others out of the overflow of that which we have received. I am praying that God would use these words of Jesus in his final prayer to the Father, these desires of Jesus, to shape my own desires. It seems fitting to spend time this season praying that God would help me lay down any of my own short-sighted, half-hearted agendas so that I can see His greater plans and join him there. What does Jesus really want for Christmas? To be with his people. Accept the gift of Christmas and spend time with Jesus. Anticipate him, celebrate him, and prepare for him because He is coming again. But the next time Jesus comes, He will come to claim all that is rightfully His. And for this I rejoice. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Merry Christmas Friends.