Christmas...what if?

So I haven't done this at all this year - you know, write a Christmas blog.  Not because I've been too "busy".  Just because I hadn't as yet felt I had something I wanted to say.  But today I decided to jot down some thoughts that have been jostling around in my head, finding root in my heart.  Particularly being back in Canada over the weeks leading up to Christmas has given me a new view of what many people, Christians included, in Canada seem to think about when they are "preparing" for Christmas.

Here are a number of statements I have heard or read that I think summarize the general, sometimes frantic, state of mind of many :

"I'm not ready for Christmas yet". 
This is not meant as a heart statement (though I think it could be a very revealing one).  It is the declaration of one who has lists in their, events, timelines, meals, decorations... I just have to ask, what is it that are we really preparing for?  Do we prepare our hearts at all or are we too tired, too stressed, too distracted by flashing lights and shopping mania?

"It doesn't feel like Christmas, especially without the snow" or "I'm not really in the Christmas spirit".  
I think this second statement is particularly pertinent : True Christmas spirit is one of Lowliness.  Humility.  Love.  Obscurity.  Perhaps if we clothed ourselves in those rather than a new sweater, we might feel the Spirit of Christmas all the time.

"I wish I could simplify Christmas". 
 If this were really true, we would.  Simplify expectations. Simplify activity.  Simplify and streamline what our Christmas is about.  What if we taught our kids and grandkids from the start, that Christmas isn't about us at all except as celebration of  a grace-filled God who gave up all for graceless sinners?

"It's not the gift that counts, it's the thought". 
Well, here's a thought : Why not just say "No gifts please"?  I don't need or want anything!  Or how about gifts of thankfulness, contentment, self-denial, sacrifice, and incarnational living?

Sometimes I fear that our traditions have overtaken any meaningful reason for celebrating the advent of Jesus, the Saviour of the world.  I wonder if Jesus would even recognize this thing we call Christmas.

For the last several years, I have done some simple reflecting during the time of advent leading up to Christmas day. In the past, this was a spiritual exercise done by believers to help prepare the heart for commemorating that first coming of Christ.  In ridding myself of  "must dos", I find I can more joyfully, peaceably live in the quiet of the moment and focus on a heart focused on Jesus.  So a Christmas Eve service worshipping the King of Kings with family and friends becomes a culmination of the celebration of His Incarnation and a reminder that incarnation is what we too have been called to live every day of the year.

We have stopped giving and receiving gifts with our children.  Instead we take a couple of days with them to simply BE PRESENT and BE THE PRESENT to one another.  This year, there's pure joy in teaching my grandson Liam to sing "Away in the Manger", with all the obligatory actions, and in playing with a child's nativity set, discussing together about Jesus being born.

I obviously can't speak for you, but for me, when I concentrate on Jesus, Babe, Son of God, Saviour, my heart is restful rather than restless and I am never disappointed.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Brenda. True, powerful, convicting words as I am again reminded that what's needed more than baking or snow or ornaments or presents is a heart that's full and focused on Jesus and how "God and sinners" were "reconciled" because of this baby. Our Saviour.

  2. Blessings on you and your family, Vanessa, as you serve and love your God in Uganda.


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