Last night my car was broken into. I knew immediately something was wrong when I walked up to where I parked it after having dinner with some friends. The passenger door was wide open. My wife and I both looked at each other with building worry as we slowly approached the car. We cautiously looked inside. That is when I breathed a sigh of relief. Everything seemed to be in order. Nothing was missing. Then I panicked. I knew that I left my Ray Ban Wayfarers in the vehicle before I left. I noticed that they were not in their usual spot. But upon closer inspection, I remembered what I did. They were tucked away into a side door pocket. I reached into it. One more sigh of relief. Thank you Jesus.
I guess the thieves looked no further upon realizing that a car with two hundred thousand miles won’t have much valuables in the glove compartment.
As my wife and I drove home last night, I had this incredible sense of peace that overwhelmed me. I almost wanted to be worried, to be frustrated. But the peace was pleasant. Why? Because the loss was non-existent. So what does this have to do with fully enjoying Christmas this year?
We live in this culture where if you don’t wake up on Christmas morning with a brand new Lexus, replete with a red bow in your driveway, you feel like an epic failure.
You already had the reindeer sweater purchased that you were going to wear while you sip a hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, all the while shredding up an obscure alpine road, going faster than sound, listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” on repeat. This is a fake reality that is being sold to us on a daily basis and some of us are drunk on that superficial cider.
One of the biggest reasons that you and I won’t experience the fullness of joy and contentment this Christmas season is because our expectations will be grander than our reality. And the only antidote to your anxiety is worship. A worship of the one true God who became Man and dwelt among us.
God came to earth to hang out with us. Yet all we often want is to hang out with a god that brilliant marketers managed to sell us.
So this Christmas, I challenge you to redeem your anticipation and drop the anchor into a stable foundation that cannot be shaken. A foundation that won’t fail you or deceive you. A reality so profound that it will surpass any other fleeting pleasure that this world has to offer us.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love bundling up and sipping some hot chocolate next to a crackling fire. I love getting presents. I love decorations. But all those great things, are not the main things. Jesus is. He is our Gift. He is Our God.
Here are five ways to fully enjoy Christmas this year:
1. Delete your to-do list. Don’t just do something, sit there. Just quit doing stuff. Just sit somewhere and be still. Are you crazy? Do you know how much I still need to get done? Yes I understand. But guess what? It’s ok. God is God and you are not. The world will still function and continue moving forward. Enjoy this moment, this season, this minute and the time that you are spending with people.
2. Quit living in the future. Life is made up of in-between moments that you and I experience. But if we are constantly living four months ahead, we miss everything that is going on around us. Talk to people while actually listening to them. You can write down your resolutions sometime in 2014.
3. Throw away your phone. Ok I know this is borderline heretical for some of you (us) but let’s have an honest chat. When was the last time you had an actual face to face conversation with someone else? If you need to, get all legalistic about it and make some rules. No phones while having dinner with friends. No phones while with family. I know this is extreme but trust me, it will be worth it in the end.
4. Don’t take any pictures. Crazy right? Don’t take a picture of your next meal, enjoy it. Don’t take a picture of those amazing Christmas lights, just enjoy them. Don’t take that next selfie, just enjoy being with other people. You can’t get that moment back. And how often do we just stare into our screens while the exciting real life just passes us by. Not every moment of your life needs to be instagramed, photoshopped, recorded or Vined. Trust me – you will survive.
5. Dwell on Jesus. After all, Jesus came to earth to dwell with us. The fact that God became Man is the ultimate hope for humanity. Let’s not gloss over this reality. Let’s not let any culture thieves rob us of the joy we have in Christ. Let’s not allow the hollow and glittery false promises of our culture deceive us into thinking that on Christmas morning my life will be complete, if only I get what I want or think I need. Let’s revel in Jesus.
This Christmas, forget the hype and focus on hope. He is not a force or a fading trend, He has a face – and His name is Jesus.
Question: What else would you recommend to fully enjoy Christmas this year?