…for family gatherings and full bellies.
…for reflecting back on the past year and looking forward to the year to come.
…for getting super excited about Christmas and equally panicked that it will come and go and you’ll miss something.
That’s just me?
I adore Christmastime. The tree, the carols, the cookies, the church services, the poinsettias, the eggnog, the stockings, the parties, the gift wrapping…it all woos me with the promise of a little heaven on earth.
Our fallen world is filled with so much pain, and I think Christmas is a magical time that we believe holds the promise of good.
Shoppers being nice to each other at the mall. People buying a latte for the guy behind them at Starbucks. Dysfunctional families eating, drinking and being merry together in moments of rare harmony.
I believe we were created for perfection and that we’re looking for little bits of it all the time.
I believe that God crafted all of creation, a gorgeous symphony of sights, sounds, colors and wonder, and that when He was done, He wanted to share it with someone.
Like turning the house into a magical Christmas wonderland of garlands, snowman figurines and twinkle lights and waiting with bated breath for your children to wake up and see it all.
The wonderland is so much sweeter when you share it with the people you hold most dear.
That’s how I think it was with God when He made everything and then made us.
Tiny veins built into delicate green leaves adorning grand oak trees. I bet He thought, “Wait until they discover these! I bet they will love them. And wow they’re gonna love it in October when all these little veined treasures turn a hundred shades of red, yellow and orange!”
So He made us.
In His own image.
To enjoy every little bit of it.
And all was well. Perfect actually.
The human heart was created for perfection.
Our hearts do not know what to do with all of the pain we face.
Dysfunctional relationships, death, infertility, deceit, loss, sickness, cruelty, hatred, crime.
They overwhelm our precious perfection-craving hearts.
So we numb them.
Or we try to.
Oh, boy do we try.
Shopping. Drinking. Rule following. Eating. Drugs. Sex. Control. Exercise. Starvation. Smoking. Religion. Routines. Recreation. Social media. Reading. Cleaning. Serving.
No matter how “good” or “evil” any of the things in that list might be, if they draw our aching hearts away from the only One who can comfort us, they are harmful.
The Sacred Romance, calls them “less wild lovers”.
God longs to be the lover of our souls and He is, by His very nature, good.
But He’s wild.
We don’t understand Him.
His ways are not our ways.
So often He doesn’t seem to “make sense” to us, so we turn to “less wild lovers” that appear to be the thing that will satisfy us NOW.
And that’s all we want.
The pain to subside. The ache to die down.
We want a fast-food solution to the deepest ache of our souls.
If you’re like me this time of year, you add a weapon to your arsenal…
The promise of Christmas cheer.
You think that maybe, just maybe, if the house is decorated just so, and you make the right assortment of pretty cookies, and go to parties with your favorite people, and choose the perfect gifts for each of your kids, and go sledding, and drink hot chocolate, and listen to enough carols by the glow of the tree, and consume enough eggnog in cute glasses dusted with nutmeg, and savor each moment enough, that you will somehow feel better.
But you won’t.
There may be some wonderful moments when all the holiday stars align and the food tastes amazing and everyone is getting along. You may squint your eyes together to take a mental picture so that you can remember the moment for years to come.
That’s just me? :)
But really, when it’s all said and done, there is no amount of holiday cheer that can satisfy us. Rescue us from our sin. Mend our broken hearts.
The true promise of the Christmas season.
I sat down to type up a Christmas Bucket List here and look what I ended up with? An important reminder for myself!
I love when that happens in this space. When God steers my fingers toward typing something He wants to say to me.
And today it was a reminder not to get caught up in all the hype.
To enjoy the next few weeks, but not look to all of the fun holiday stuff to fill a place that it simply cannot.
I want to quiet my heart.
I want to meditate on scripture so that it’s written on my heart and it comes to mind each and every time I start to feel frantic.
I want to lean into the wild One who can tame my ferocious longings.