There is something I have caught myself saying over and over again in prayer lately. Especially as this Christmas season settles in and it becomes far too easy to be swept up in the hustle and bustle of it all, I’ve been reflecting on the Christmas story and how I hope that it never becomes common. That the fact that I know it so well and have heard it my whole entire life, that it never loses its wonder and power. Eternity stepping into humanity. A baby boy born in a tiny little obscure town in a stable–the King of the World. His entrance into the world heralded by the angels and simple shepherds. A turning point in the history of the world at that time–all leading up to the one day when this helpless baby boy would hang on a cross as a man and carry the sins of all upon His shoulders.
I hope the wonder of it never ceases. I hope the enormity of what we celebrate each and every Christmas continues to move our hearts to worship. That our focus is on the enormity of that little manger scene, rather than running an endurance race throughout the holiday season. So many of us get caught up in the to do lists and the planning and the arrangements–which are on our plates and need to be addressed. But so many of us get exhausted by this season. By all that has to be done and we forget that Christmas was never about what we do, but always about what He has done for us.
And I have fallen prey to this so many times myself. Caught up in the holiday season. Trying to do an advent study but falling behind while I try to get so many things done. The end of the year that always seems to bring out a certain sense of urgency to finish the year well. There have been years when Christmas has been about so many other things and not about that manger scene. Not about that baby boy.
Or there have been years when I have dived deep into advent studies and tried to hard so focus on the true meaning of Christmas, only to find it boring. Which I know sounds absolutely terrible to say, but how many times can we hear something and still find it exciting and new?
But I think that is part of the point. Sometimes we just have to set our hearts on what is true and what is right, even if it takes diligence and discipline. Even if the wonder isn’t there in the moment. Because it may hit us at a completely different point of our lives and be just what we need. Faith isn’t always this awe-filled experience full of all the good feels, but one of setting our hearts on Christ even when that itself feels like something on our to-do list for the day. We don’t have to let the Christmas story be common. We can seek Him in the midst of it and ask how it changes our lives and sit in the weight of what that truly means for us. We can choose to let Him in right into the crazy and He will meet us there.
And I’ve caught myself asking my very own heart this year–is there still no room at the inn? In the crazy hustle of this season, whatever it may be–end of the year projects, work deadlines, product launches, holiday shopping, preparing for company that may or may be making our stress meters rise. Are we making room for Him? Are we setting our hearts on Christ and what this season means, or are our hearts so focused on what we have to get done instead?
Looking at society as a whole, it is easily to see this over commercialization of Christmas. It seems that Christ hasn’t been part of the Christmas story for a long time. But for the hearts of believers–the hearts of those who know Him as Savior–are we too not letting Him in? Is there no room for Him in our busy lives? Do we just pay Him our dues and quick acknowledgements and half hearted prayers as we join the race through the holiday season? Or do we quiet our souls and invite Him right in the deep?
Are we worshipping Christ or are we worshipping Christmas?
Are we allowing for moments of silence and prayer even when there is no time for it at all or are we jumping right into the hustle of each day?
Are we making this season of our lives about us, or about Him?
Are the doors of our hearts wide open, or is there still no room at the inn?
And this isn’t specific to this holiday season. Yes, we are celebrating the birth of Christ and the enormity of what that means for humanity and us as Christians, but we all have seasons in our lives where we just retreat in our busy lives. I am guilty, for sure! I’m the kind of person that dives in headfirst every time I have a new and exciting idea without ever thinking to stop and process it through, let alone pray about it. I am quick to jump far ahead of where He wants me to be. I’ve slowly learned over the years how to quiet myself before Him and let Him do the leading. To lay down my lists and tendencies to jump high when my feet need to be planted on the ground. Times when I’ve been caught up in the midst of my circumstances and what my stubborn heart wants that I don’t want to let Him in. I don’t want to hear what He has to say.
But in those moments, I miss out on His leading. I miss out on the wonder.
I’m praying that my heart and yours will be opened to Christ during this season, no matter what your circumstances will be. That there is always room for Him in your heart. That if He were to come knocking, He would already find the door wide open.
That’s the kind of heart I want to have. Open to Him. Always.