On Loving Christmas More

 

I’m loving Christmas more and more. It’s incredibly fun with little ones. Gideon seems especially excited this year. I wish you could have seen him, in the living room, jumping up and down, exclaiming, “Momma, I can’t WAIT to put up the Christmas tree! You know why? Because I love those BALLS! You know those shiny BALLS? Let’s get some of those BALLS and put them on the tree! Can we? Can we?” He was ridiculously beside himself. And in all his thrill and awe, I recovered my little girl wonder.

And now that our tree is up, one of my favorite things to do is get up early before my rambunctious little people do, stumble downstairs to turn on the Christmas tree lights and then drink coffee on the couch while I spend time with my Maker.  It’s a sweet time. Just me and God and the twinkly lights.

And when I look at my Christmas tree, I think about the tree that was cut down and hewn into a feed trough. The one they laid my Savior in, when He first made His appearance on the earth as a little babe. I think about how rough and cold that manger must have been, and how stinky that barn was, with the stench of musty animals and manure splattered hay. He traded in the glory of heaven for a wreaking barn. I don’t know if He could have come more humbly.

And then I think about another tree. The one they cut down and crafted into a Cross. That jagged one that my Savior laid down on while they pounded the nails that ripped through His veins.  The tree that Christ’s blood trickled down, His love running out for all of us, so we could be rescued. So, we could be redeemed.

 

 

And I think about how God gave His first-born Son the name, Immanuel. Meaning, “God with us.” Because in all of our life, God just wants to be with us.  But, since the Fall, sin had wrecked this whole place and caused a rift between the created and the Creator. And God wanted that rift gone. So, Jesus came to do what we couldn’t. He lived a perfect life and purchased us by His blood.  They bloodied His back, then He laid it down on a splintery cross and that cross became the bridge we walk on, back to the Father so we never have to live apart again.

And I think about how God calls Himself the great I AM. How though Christ died, now He lives and the One who calls Himself I AM actually is. Just right here. With us in all our daily life so that we never need live this life alone.  And at Christmas the world seems to yell, “Hurry up! Go crazy! Buy more stuff!” But, for the Christ-follower, this month is our permission to slow down and pause.  To sit on the couch in little girl wonder and just gaze at the tree. To jump up and down for all the excitement because Jesus came and isn’t He the greatest gift?

So, I’m loving Christmas more than ever but I think it’s because I’m slowing down a bit. And I’m thinking about Immanuel—the God here with me. I can feel the warmth of His heart, throbbing out love for all the world, beating here inside  my chest.

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:23)

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