as December is upon us, our minds are already adjusting to the idea of Christmas and what that typically means for our families. for some, the business of Christmas began weeks ago... the cyber-shoppers, the plan-aheaders. for others, like myself, it's only just begun. i was really hoping to try the whole plan-ahead thing this year. since Christmas comes at the same time every single year, it shouldn't be that much of a stretch. so why does it always seem to creep up, jump out and surprise me? for our family December has consistently meant more travel, more concerts, more time away from home. wait, all the more reason for me to plan ahead and have all the gifts purchased, the house decorated the cards completed before the final month of the year has a chance to sneak its way into my life. alas, i've yet to gain enough ground to be able to get out in front of it. the problem is that as i allow the busy-ness of it, indeed the business of it, to get away from me, overwhelm me, it becomes easier to let the truth and beauty and essence get lost in the shuffle of hurry and obligation.
we know better. we know the story. maybe that's why it tends to lose it's potency, we are too familiar. we've grown too accustomed to the characters. it's like watching a movie you've seen a dozen times, you love it, that's why you keep watching it, but now you just put it on as background noise while you work on your computer or play on your phone (or address christmas cards). but if you paid attention, you'd see things, catch nuances, you'd missed before.
i want to readjust my perspective on the story. i want to realign my heart with the enormity of advent. i want a reminder of the depth of what we are celebrating. in light of that desire, i've chosen John 1:1+14 as my STANDard for the month of December.
in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God...the WORD became flesh and dwelt among us...
or in the amplified version:
in the beginning [before all time] was the Word [Christ], and the Word was with God and the Word was God himself.... and the Word [Christ] became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed his tent of flesh, lived a while) among us...
THAT is what they, the Jews, were waiting for! but they didn't even know!!! how could they know that the Messiah, the Child of the Promise, would not be just a regular man, but GOD. the very Word of God became the flesh and blood and bones that would inevitably be torn, poured out and broken to save us. THIS is Christmas. the Word became flesh, one of us. God with us.
and now, our anticipation as believers, Christ followers, should be anchored in the fact that we know what they didn't! our anticipation is not in his coming, but in his coming again!
as we prepare our homes for this season, lets not neglect the preparation of our hearts. i pray that Christmas this year would bring a renewed and heightened sense of joy and faith in the fact that Jesus, the Word, God himself, loved us so much that he came, dwelt, died and rose again.... let that fuel your celebration of Christmas.