These are the signs of Christmas, right? I mean, how can you sing "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" or "Winter Wonderland" in anything but below freezing weather? You at least need to be able to see your breath while you sing.
As we've drawn closer and closer to Christmas here, I find myself thinking, "BUT THIS ISN'T CHRISTMAS!" We're in the desert. It's above 50 degrees. I'm still wearing 3/4 length sleeves. And donkeys are walking down my street on a daily basis.
And then it hits me. This is probably more like Christmas than any other I've ever celebrated. Take out the commercialism. Take out Santa. Take out the traditional Christmas songs that have nothing to do with Jesus. What does it leave you with? REALITY! Christmas is about Jesus coming to earth as a baby to save us from our sins over 2,000 years ago. He didn't come in a Minnesota blizzard. He didn't come "over the river and through the woods." Mary & Joseph didn't pour themselves a cup of hot chocolate and huddle around the fire with just the twinkling glow of the Christmas tree. He came in the middle of a night in a stable (or cave or animal stall) to a teenage girl and her fiancé.
birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus....The Holy Spirit will come upon
you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born
will be called the Son of God...For nothing is impossible with God."
- Luke 1:30-31, 35, 37
has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will
call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name.'"
- Luke 1:46-49
This morning I sat down to have my quiet time. My life group is doing a 4-week advent study and every week I think "Ugh...it doesn't feel like Christmas!" My prayer through this study has been for the Lord to open my eyes and draw my heart back to the reality of Christmas. I felt like I was fighting it. "This isn't what Christmas feels like!" And ever so quietly, I felt God whisper to me.
Did I think Jesus had been born in snow? No. Did I know that Christmas is about more than commercialism? Yes. Had it completely sunk in, though? I don't think so. Not until this year when I'm a couple hundred miles from His birthplace, surrounded by a culture very similar to His, and away from all that I would normally consider the "real Christmas atmosphere." It didn't sink in until today.
Tonight is the Christmas Pageant at church complete with live donkeys, sheep, and camels. They'll be sharing the Christmas story in the setting, temperature, and culture that it originally was set in. I think I'm more excited for Christmas than I ever have been before.
My prayer for the Lord to open my eyes and draw my heart back to the reality of Christmas? Yeah. He answered it. :)