seeking Jesus in the stuff

Photo credit: Mick-Haupt-Kf7e-AD67vk-unsplash

Who is all this gift buying, cookie making, and light stringing for anyway?

I experience this tension each year. I enjoy the warmth of the white sparkles intertwined with evergreen boughs while breathing in deeply the aromas of cinnamon and citrus, and pine. I shop for individualized gifts that I hope will surprise and delight loved ones. I eat too many sugar-dusted and chocolate-covered cookies. I hang the treasured-memory ornaments on the tree and set out the nativities from countries around the world.

But I ask myself, why am I doing all of this? What is the purpose of these things?

Christmas is about Jesus. Not a birth-record birthday, but a set-apart day to celebrate His birth – when the God of the universe voluntarily took on a limited human form to be with us. Jesus, who grew up in a somewhat ordinary way for those times with family and friends so we could relate to Him. AND He did miracles and demonstrated that He was more powerful than death so that we could believe His promise of eternity in heaven and receive His gift of transformation and hope for our every day living.

I don’t want to miss Jesus in all the decoration and all the crazy of the season.

This year is a quieter holiday for me – no week of family-gathered activities, very little baking, and less décor. Sometimes that feels empty and sad, but at other times, like now, it feels good and right because I have space to seek Jesus.

When I have less to do and fewer people around, I can turn my eyes towards Him. I can rest in His forever presence with me, and I can turn my thoughts to following Him and becoming more like Him.

You may have superhero inflatables in the yard, or a houseful of sugar-coma guests, or a full schedule of carol-singing on repeat, or a just-me-and-my-cat-in-front-of-the-fire style of Christmas planned. No matter what your Christmas is like this year, I pray that – in some way – all of that stuff, or the lack of, might help you seek Jesus.

Christmas is His day, and I’m sure He’d like to share it with you.

What helps you find Jesus in the many season distractions?

9 thoughts on “seeking Jesus in the stuff

  1. In many ways it’s a pity that it takes a pandemic, which slows us down, to help us ponder more the true meaning of Christmas! I have not felt as frazzled as other years with less happening and yet just enough to satisfy my time with family and more time to think about why we celebrate this day…JESUS! I think He knows how to get our attention! 🙂 Thank you for verbalizing some of my own thoughts, Terry!

  2. This is such a beautiful perspective, Ter. Stuff and clutter are the nemeses of Christmas–it’s so easy to get caught up in the doing and having and making instead of pausing and considering how incredible His love for us is. He left the glory and beauty of heaven for the dark mess here because it was the only way to save us. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around such grace and love and compassion.

  3. Thanks Terry for this thoughtful post. I have been pondering in this season of social distancing what it means that Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us. What a comfort to know that no matter what our circumstances are this Christmas season that God became man and dwelt among us. Christmas blessings dear friend.

  4. This echoes just what I was thinking about this week! “God with us” is best celebrated in the quiet moments – May we all take some to ponder the depth and breadth of love we have access to through Him!

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