So it is that favorite time of year, Christmastime.
|Our first Christmas tree 2008|
Last week I was feeling rather sorry for myself and was missing my big box of Christmas decorations all packed up and sitting in a shed half way across the world. And I was thinking about Christmas without a tree and without decorations and without family and possibly without snow. On top of that, it will be Caleb's first Christmas and that made it all the worse in my mind. I was throwing a good old little sorry-for-me party in my head and heart. I should have known I was in for a lesson.
Steve and I also started an advent Bible study together last Sunday (first Sunday of Advent). It has a portion of scripture to read each day in anticipation of Christmas and to focus our minds daily on the real meaning of Christmas, why Jesus was born and why it is such a big deal. The first week we read a lot about sin. An ugly and unlikely topic to pair with commercial Christmas, I know. We read in Genesis about the fall and we read about how we are condemned as sinners. We read about Jesus being prophesied in the Old Testament. And we talked a lot about how the need for Jesus (and subsequently the need for Christmas) really isn't very pretty at all. We needed Christmas. We needed Jesus to come and be born in a manger and live the perfect life to die in our place and rescue us from our guilt, our shame, our sin, our evil hearts and deeds and thoughts. Our pity parties. Our selfish feel-sorry-for me days.
And that lead me to realize my sin and my skewed view of the meaning of Christmas. It made me see how my eyes had shifted from the real meaning to the commercial meaning. I'd gotten wrapped up and consumed and distracted. My gaze had gone from Jesus to me. And trees. And lights. And ornaments. And decorations. This. This was the very reason Jesus came. The very reason He came to die.
And so the Lord gently shifted my gaze back into focus and my heart settled down, excited for this season of Advent and reflecting on the meaning behind Christmas.
But it doesn't stop there. We recieved a phone call from a couple in the church who are going on vacation in December, asking if we would like to borrow some Christmas decorations because they weren't going to fully decorate since they were going to be gone. They brought over a big box of Christmas decorations. Oh and it doesn't stop there either. The other day we received a message asking if we had a Christmas tree and offering to lend us one of those too.
I stand humbled. I stand corrected. And I stand blessed in undeserved ways. As has been the case often in the past few months, all I can think of is "grace." Undeserved grace. Thank you, Jesus.