Father, Jesus, and Spirit,
I feel it starting inside of me. The temptation to look to myself and the world as the universe around me looks more and more “christmasy.” You know my heart. You know my struggles with Christmas. You know I spent my childhood looking to the feelings of Christmas. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted it to be like TV and movies. I remember the year that I was in 7th grade and I really wanted it to snow. I was in a sour mood for days because it didn’t. It wasn’t Christmas to me. I wanted the feelings I was told I was supposed to have.
You know the years I spent struggling with this. You remember the year after college that I gave up on all of the traditions of Christmas because they were not You. I decided to forsake all that was “christmas” to me in the past because of the commericalism and selfishness that was tied up in it all. You brought me out of this. You showed me how you can redeem anything. You can bring your meaning to all things. Just because the Christmas Tree, lights, and even gift giving were all adapted from pagan and worldly sources, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your part and meaning in them. The Tree is a sign of the everlasting life offered in you. The lights are the symbol of you and your coming. The gifts are a picture of the gift of your life that you gave us.
You gave me a plan for Christmas with my own family. How to take control of the traditions and make them yours. How I can use the usual customs of the holiday to teach my children about You and the true meaning of Christmas. You helped my family be okay with this. You helped me have a son that so far is not caught up in the selfish side of Christmas. You know all of these things.
And you know that right now my heart wants to go back. It wants the “warm and fuzzy christmas” that basks in gifts and feelings that are about me. I don’t want that. I don’t want that kind of Christmas spirit. I know it is not a bad thing to be caught up in Christmas, but I know there is something better. I want to be caught up in You. I want to be caught up in the reason that you came, Jesus. I want to be caught up in the story of redemption. I want to be caught up in the mercy and love that drove you to leave heave, come and live a real life here on Earth, to die a greusomely real death, and then to rise again to prove that your sacrafice was accepted and I am truely free.
Spirit, I want your presence to be what gives me the peace and joy of Christmas. I don’t want the manufactured feelings that come from lights, happy songs, and hot cocoa. I want the real thing. I want You. Even if it means dealing with myself and my selfish nature and sin. I want the real Spirit. The real Comfort and Joy.
Father, I want you to be the reality of Christmas that Santa can not hold a candle to. I want to look to you. The real Father Christmas. The giver of gifts that did not hold back his own perfect Son. You did not passover your own Son. You allowed him to come and die. To come and die for me. You accept me because you were willing to reject Him. I want this gift to be the only one that consumes me this year.
Father, Jesus, and Spirit, please be my Christmas. Please be my focus. Please make this year real. Please help me not to hold back your message. Please let it be the song on my lips. Help me to teach my son. Help me to share this constantly with my wife. Please help me to share it with the world.
Thank you, Father. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Spirit.
Yours, by your grace alone, Joe.