by Sarah Cox
I love everything about this time of year – the lights, family dinners, and parties full of great food, laughter and silly presents.
But this year, much like Easter and Thanksgiving, Christmas feels somehow threatened by the looming presence of COVID-19.
In my superficial attempt to bring a bit of joy to our home, I broke my rule about no Christmas decor before Thanksgiving, digging out the tree and making dried fruit ornaments almost as soon as Halloween was over.
Ordinarily, our twinkling traditional spruce tree donned with strung popcorn, red wooden cranberries and dried citrus ornaments brings me a simple joy whenever I look at it – tucked into the corner of our living room. But this year, it doesn’t give me that spark that I so long for during the holiday season.
In short, I’ve committed one of the basic sins.
I’ve tried to fill a spiritual void using earthly wisdom.
The world tells me to do the things that will bring me joy – in this case, setting up a simple Christmas tree in the corner of our living room.
But deep abiding joy can only come from Christ, and how often do I treat Him like my Christmas tree? Just a little display – a Sunday service, a cross necklace, a few songs – and then on to the rest of my life. A little corner of life – not daring to let Him take over and make over my heart.
This Christmas promises to be entirely different from Christmases past, and I think that it may be exactly what most of us need.
When the rest of the Christmas trappings are stripped away, we will be forced to reconnect with the true reason for the season – the person of Jesus Christ.
And what better time to reorient our hearts toward Him than Advent? Advent is the season of waiting and preparation. It’s when we expectantly prepare to celebrate the first coming of Jesus, while eagerly awaiting His second coming to establish His Kingdom, even as we celebrate His presence among us through the promised Holy Spirit.
This Advent, join me in reconnecting with the person of Jesus. Dig into scripture. Do an Advent Bible study or devotional. I love this one by Asherita Ciuciu.
Truly keeping Christ in Christmas goes beyond formalities and external traditions. Santa, stockings, and trees with all the trimmings are wonderful, but we have a higher calling – to follow what God wants us to do. And Christ wants us to be less concerned with others – and more concerned with Him. His purposes. His ways. His gift.
We no longer need lights adorning our house or stores, because we become the shining lights.
When Christ is in us and we are in Him, we portray Christ through Christmas. It’s not about “keeping Christ in Christmas” –it’s about “keeping Christ in us this Christmas.” It’s about keeping our passions set on Him.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
2020 has taken a lot from us, but I truly believe it has given us one of the greatest gifts we could have ever received: a longing for Christmas, for the light that conquers darkness, and for Christ’s triumphant return.
Hi, sweet friend. I’m Sarah Cox, a wife, mother, and critical thinker who loves Jesus. I am most interested in helping women discover who they are by discovering who God is. I long to help women engage their brains in worship as much as their hearts. I live in a big blue house tucked in a small town in Appalachia that is nearly always filled with friends and family. I’m a critical thinker, closet crunchy, and always ready to engage in a debate. I pray that I always remember the person asking the question is more important than the question itself. I’m so thankful you’re here. Let’s talk soon.