“The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'”–Matthew 1:23
I LOVE Christmas. I love the decorations, the movies, the food, the gifts, the lights, and the music. I love the celebration that most of society chooses to participate in for the month of December. Yes, I love all of those things, but those things are not why Jesus made his appearance on Earth.
Jesus came to us as Immanuel, God WITH us. He came to make a way for us to have relationship with Him. He came to seek and save the lost. He arrived in the simplest way.
“You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” –Luke 2:12
My family has been on a journey, of simplifying Christmas. We have spent too many years with ideals of what a perfect Christmas should look like and many holidays with stress and tension because the circumstances and the people weren’t perfect, like our ideals. It is easy to get caught up in making sure that we fulfill all of our Christmas traditions and participate in all of the festivities. It becomes “normal” to spend the season stressed out and irritated with those that mean the most to us.
Less than a month after Christmas 2010, our two-year old son, Justus, experienced one of the most frightening health scares that we had ever faced. It involved an ambulance ride to the hospital, an over-night stay, many unknowns, many tests to follow, and many weeks of waking up in the night to check on our sleeping boy. During this season, I didn’t care about how many tubs of decorations I used for Christmas, how many parties we were invited to, what or how many gifts I received or gave, or if the meals turned out like I wanted. No, in events that shake me such as this, I am brought back to a place of gratitude for the truly important things that I have been given. What a rich life I could have, if I can slow down and be thankful for each day, without having to experience traumatic events to become grateful.
People and relationship are what Jesus came for. People and relationships are what truly matter. May His peace be evident in our celebrations this year, and may we be truly grateful for what matters. Wishing you a simple Christmas!