Hating Christmas?

I was recently in a store when I overheard a woman at the register saying, “I’m beginning to hate Christmas.”

My heart sank because I adore Christmas. But not for reasons most would know.

When I was a little girl, I went to church but never really knew God. And what I knew of Him, I was afraid of. I felt like He was this big monstrous person who was out to get me.

Until Christmas.

Christmas time, the church was decorated with trees in the front of the sanctuary. The harsh, overhead lights were dimmed and the soft glow from those trees gave a gentleness to church.

And there was baby Jesus lying in the manger right in front. I found myself standing on tippy toes (we always sat in the back), believing He was going to move any minute, and I was going to see Him and tell everybody. I spent most of those December services, staring at baby Jesus. I was hopeful. Expectant.

It took years (that’s another story), but I realized God wasn’t a cruel god who was out to get me and zap me with a lightning bolt whenever I messed up. Like the baby Jesus with His arms reaching out from the manger, God was reaching out to me. And He’s done it every Christmas since.

It has nothing to do with decorations, although I enjoy them immensely. It has nothing to do with baking and presents and watching my favorite Christmas movies (there are many).

Christmas has everything to do with Jesus Christ reaching out to save us from eternal darkness and from our own personal dark places (mine – the falsehoods I thought were true about Him). It’s about Him drawing us into a relationship with Him by showing us how much He loves us. He came for us. He’s coming back for us.

It’s all about standing on tippy toes with expectation and excitement and joy sending you into fits of laughter because His love is swelling within and you can’t  contain it. You just can’t.

So, my dear friend, if you’re saying you hate Christmas, ask yourself why.  Commercialism, despair, stress, and anxiety are all thieves. They will steal your joy if you let them.

Don’t let the darkness distract you from the Light of the world that’s reaching out to you. Instead, dance in the light of life this Christmas with the One who came to draw you into His arms for all eternity.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12 NIV.)

The Ride of Our Lives

 

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My husband was driving and our daughter was in the backseat as I held the map and “helped” watch for danger on the highway. (Note: I help by pointing everything out, overreacting by slamming my foot to the invisible brake on the passenger-side floorboard, and driving everyone around me nuts. Basically.)

But dangers on the road are all too real. You and I know that. We have to watch for drivers texting, deer or armadillos (still waiting to see a LIVE one) making the mad dash to the other side, and airplanes.

Yes, you read that right. Airplanes.

We could see the small plane miles up ahead, and I can honestly tell you I thought it was a drone or a remote controlled plane someone was using to scare drivers by dive-bombing them.

But the closer we got, the more we could see it was not a teeny tiny plane someone was maneuvering with a remote control, but a life-sized one, circling the highway and disappearing behind a group of trees.

It appeared, circled around again, and plummeted, aiming for the other lane of traffic. My hand went to my mouth, and I gasped.

But the plane didn’t crash. (Thank you, Lord!) And when we drove past the group of trees, we could see the pilot was actually in full control, crop dusting.

It made me think about God and how He is in full control of our lives.  But some of us (ahem…me) think they know what’s going on. We trust our eyes or our minds and think we have it all figured out when really, we don’t have a clue.

It’s easy to trust what we see, but it’s not always right. It’s easy to believe the plan we have in our minds must be what God put there because we want it so much. But that’s not always the case.

His plan is always going to be better. Easy? Probably not. Worth all the gasping and holding on and crying out to Him? Absolutely.

We may even feel like we’re plummeting to the ground and can’t stop ourselves from crashing, like the controls are broken and we can’t set things straight.

But wouldn’t it be like God to rescue us just when we’re about to give up and into despair, thinking it’s all over?

When we finally let go of our measly remote controls and surrender to Him, we’ll know without a doubt the rescue, the honor, and the glory all belong to Him.

All we have to do is trust Him, lean in closer, and hang on for the ride of our lives.

“My help and glory are in God – granite-strength and safe-harbor-God – So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be.” (Psalm 62:7-8 MSG.)

(Photo from Pexels)