An Overfilled Christmas

 full Christmas tree

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“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

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This year, I put my box of Christmas ornaments away with one full layer of decorations still in it. I just couldn’t find any more room on the tree. After so many years of accumulation, it was full.

My overflowing Christmas tree seems symbolic of the entire Christmas season. Despite my best efforts, the older I get, the more it seems to fill up.

It’s exhausting. And not reflective of the life Jesus came to give us.

Sometimes my response adds to the sense of things being overcrowded. I get worried that the fullness of this season is overtaking the fullness of Christ.

So I pack shame and regret and frustration on top of it all, wondering how I lost track of Christmas, worried that my kids will grow up without the sense of the true meaning of it all that I hope to give them.

But that response does not help take me back to the fullness of Christ.

One of the wonderful things about the life Christ offers us is He never withdraws His offer. It is always there. If we lose track of this Christmas, we will have another chance next Christmas, as well as all the months and days between now and then.

It’s true that life is made of moments, but is it also composed of a lifetime.

I’ve often heard stories of how the innkeeper missed his chance to partake in the miracle and wonder of the first Christmas. But I don’t know if that’s actually a helpful thought. Yes, he did miss that one moment. But he had the rest of his life to find Christ. He didn’t lose the opportunity forever when he missed the moment before him.

Maybe 30 years later, the people of Bethlehem heard stories of a miracle worker, teacher, and prophet who was born in their town. Maybe it triggered memories of how the sky shone unusually bright one night about that many years ago. Maybe someday they were able to find the peace, hope, and fullness of life with Immanuel. They may have missed it that night, but they might not have missed it forever.

Christmas comes every year. Perhaps this Christmas needs a do-over for you, but that’s okay. Christ is still here, and He will always be here, offering you His fullness and peace.

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Dear Jesus, replace our busyness with Your fullness. Replace our shame with Your love. Replace our guilt with Your forgiveness. May we never stop searching for You. May we never stop seeking what You have to offer us. Amen.

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O Little Town of Bethlehem- Sarah McLachlan

“Where meek souls will receive Him still the dear Christ enters in.”


NoticingImmanuel

Noticing Immanuel: a series for Advent. Each day starts with noticing: a picture of an everyday Christmas moment. That picture leads to a verse, a meditation, a prayer, and a song. My hope is that when we see those Christmas moments a second time, they will strike us differently. That we might feel the presence of Immanuel this Christmas season, whether we are sitting in quiet or moving in chaos.