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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Settling in for a long winter's night

Quite some time ago, I learned the light-hearted song, "All I want for Christmas..."  You know the one I mean - the little jingle about wanting my "two front teeth" for Christmas.  I think we all want something for Christmas - some of us will be quick to announce what our wish list includes, while others will be more reserved and not really be able to make any grand gestures toward letting the world know what it is we are wishing for.  Many a child will be making their lists and checking them twice, then sealing them in an envelope addressed to the Jolly Ole St. Nick care of the North Pole.  It is kind of what Christmas has come to these days - a lot of hustle and bustle to get the right gift and to ensure everyone has something special they will want.  As the grand-boys have been growing up, I have asked for their "lists" because it makes it easier for me to actually get things which fit their current interests.  Imagine my surprise this year when I found out the wish list did not come in the usual handwritten fashion, but was an Amazon Wish List!  Tee hee!  They are definitely not little boys any longer!  My greatest hope for everyone this Christmas season is for Christ to be at the top of your list!

You, Lord, are all I want!  You are my choice, and you keep me safe.  You make my life pleasant, and my future is bright. (Psalm 16:5-6 CEV)

We have probably all heard the little quips here and there about men and holiday shopping - like they can buy gifts for 25 relatives in the last 25 minutes of shopping time just before Christmas!  As silly as this may be, we enjoy poking a little fun at people who think fruit cake is a great gag gift, or who procrastinate till the last minute to scurry around in a mad frenzy on the 24th of December on a mad flight of gift buying.  One of my favorite quotes about Christmas came from Dale Evans.  She said, "Christmas, my child, is love in action.  Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas!"  Now, think on that one a little and you will see she was saying Christmas goes way beyond December 25.  It is a lifetime of giving of one's talents, time, and treasures for the blessing of another.  This is the true meaning of gift giving - not that we have our every wish or that the list is all checked off!

As our psalmist so aptly states, "You, Lord, are all I want!"  I wonder what state of mind and spirit we have to get to in order to actually mean those words?  I think we say them kind of freely, but when push comes to shove, we don't demonstrate them in action in our lives.  Our challenge this holiday season is to remain faithful to this one action - making Christ central in all our gatherings, all our gift giving, and in all our preparations.  If we want to remain true to the season, we cannot forget that Christ was "central" to the entirety of the Christmas story!  His birth was prophesied - his tiny life was celebrated - and his home was made the richer because he was in it.  May our homes be the richer because Christ is central in them, as well!

As we consider our passage again, the key to Christ being all we want is a matter of choosing the right focus in the madness of the season.  When we make Christ our choice, we are choosing to have our lives made whole in him.  We are choosing to have our lives become demonstrations of his light and grace.  As we explored yesterday, all kindness and grace is evident in the living of his life in us.  One thing I recognize as a tendency in my own life is to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season.  This year has almost forced a different vantage point for me.  I had the knee revised on the 8th, so I am on crutches, moving past the pain once again, and attempting to rehab this knee so I can return to work after the first of the year.  I had to prepare for the holidays before I could go into the hospital for the surgery.  In all my years, I have never been more at peace with Christmas!  It was all done the week before my surgery and now I can just enjoy the peace of the season!  I highly recommend settling down with a good book, enjoying family, and taking in the joy of the season!  It is awesome!

May God's grace be always evident in your lives.  May his peace always fill your hearts with joy.  And may his love fill you with all the glee of the season!  Just sayin!