Remember the feeling of “Christmas longing” we got as a kid waiting for that certain gift we knew would transform our lives. Whether it was a new baseball glove, skateboard, fashion boots, or designer lip gloss, we just knew that once we had it, life would be better—WE would be better. It was going to make us more popular, more athletic, prettier, funnier, smarter, or just all around cooler. In short, it would make us happier. Let’s be honest, even as adults we sometimes experience “Christmas longing.” We need that one new electronic gadget, the fancy coffee maker, or the latest trend in fitness equipment. Then life will be all that it should be—WE’LL be all that we should be.
Ironically, this life changing gift has already been given. We just never take the time to unwrap it. We are too busy with our list of things that must be done to make Christmas perfect.
Have you ever tried to give a gift to someone who won’t be still long enough to receive it? My daughter loves to bake for others. It’s one of the ways she shows her love for them. Recently, she baked cookies for a friend for Christmas. But she hasn’t been able to give the cookies to them because they are either too busy or unavailable, or they just simply forgot they were supposed to get them. Now, I know they want the cookies and they appreciate her thoughtfulness in making them, but they just can’t be still long enough to receive the gift. I’m sure my daughter is a little disappointed, maybe even a tad frustrated, so I can only imagine how God must feel when we are too busy with our list of things to do to receive the gift He has for us.
Instead, we embrace the notion that we must do everything Christmas-y, and do it well, or Christmas just won’t happen. It will cease to exist. As if Santa Claus were watching from the North Pole, scratching his head and saying “I’m afraid we’re going to have to cancel Christmas this year. Your tinsel is crooked, your ornaments are unoriginal, your gingerbread men look like The Walking Dead, and you still haven’t bought that one perfect, life-changing present for everyone on your list.”
I found the following passage many years ago. I keep it in my bible and I re-read it every year at Christmas.
“If as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with actions, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of a child as did Mary?” ~Author Unknown
Maybe all that is necessary to satisfy our “Christmas longing” is to simply be still and receive His gift.