It is the Christmas season and already I have almost hit my party limit and am yet again behind on my Christmas shopping. Along with all of that though I have been thinking a lot about Christmas and why I like it so much. It has always been a stressful time of year and not always the easiest holiday to get through. But even with that I have always loved it's coming and have always watched it's going with a sad longing, hoping it could stay, almost feeling like I just missed something significant.
I remember when I was little, Christmas always felt huge to me. I don't how to explain it other than to say there always seemed to be more to it than the presents, concerts, Mass, and meals. Maybe that is why I always liked that line in the Dr. Seuss story. But I always felt there was even more to it than sharing time with family and being kind to people. I always felt overwhelmed and that there was something bigger than what I could see going on. I had fun with the whole Santa thing but even that didn't seem to fully answer that feeling of something wonderful is happening.
I can't honestly say I remember a lot of the gifts I received when I was a kid. I mostly remember family gatherings with lots of food. I remember loving all the Christmas specials that came on TV. I was so excited when the tree was finally put up and I loved above all Christmas carols. I didn't like the goofy ones like "Frosty the snowman", or "Rudolph", I always liked the serious sounding ones, even though I didn't understand what they were about. I just remember that they created a sense of wonder in me.
I was always fascinated with the nativity scene that came out every Christmas, but the only time I ever heard anything that had to do with the first coming of Jesus was if it was in Christmas Carol that was being played or if I was awake enough to listen to the Priest during Midnight Mass at the Cathedral (I usually fell asleep though).
Even though I didn't understand it then, I see now that the longing that was in my heart, the thing I kept feeling was just outside of my grasp, was a longing for Christ. He was drawing me to Himself, He was (is) the something more. In all honesty I don't really like the catch phrase "Jesus is the reason for the season" and I think it is because I have heard it too many times in a mocking tongue in cheek way.
In reality, it is Jesus we are to be worshiping during this time. It is Jesus' first coming that we should be meditating on. It is a deeper understanding of who God is and what would cause Him to come in the form of a baby and allow Himself to be so accessible to us that we should be asking for. We should be giving thanks. We should have a sense of awe and wonder. And yes, I am including myself in that royal "we".
I need a deeper revelation of Christ's first coming so that I can truly long for His second coming. If I fall in love with Jesus, God incarnate, then of course I will wait and long for Him to return. I want to be like the wise men, who weren't even Jewish, but had read the prophesies and believed that what was in scripture was true. Something had grasped their hearts and it caused them to watch and wait. They were rewarded for their waiting. They saw the sign that said the Messiah had come, they believed again and followed that star for two years until they found Him. I can't imagine what it would have been like for them to leave their home country, their family and friends and follow a star only to come to the feet of a child from a poor family and worship Him as King. This time though He is not coming as a helpless baby but is coming as a triumphant King, ready to take His throne. I am want to long and wait for that day, to see the signs of His coming and understand them for what they really are.
I love it, I really do. I love that this is more than a fairytale. I love that this is reality. That God really was borne of a virgin; He really did grow up as a baby, toddler, child, teenager and man. He really did have a family, He lived in humbleness and obscurity for 30 years to learn the way of love and obedience to God the Father. He really did pray and listen for His Father's leading by the Holy Spirit and then stepped out to heal the sick, cast out demons, care for the widow, the orphan, the prostitute, the sinner. He called them all to turn to His Father. He really did call the religious leaders to turn back to the Father, warning them that they had gone astray. It is true that after 3 years He gave His life up to death as a sacrifice on a cross so that He could make a way for us to come to the Father. Through His death and resurrection He broke the power of sin and death, for real. He really is the image of the invisible God. If we want to know what God the Father is like we just need to look to Jesus. He really did promise to return and He really will fulfill that promise.
That is what I want to be fascinated with, that is what I want to celebrate at Christmas. I want to praise and thank Jesus for His first coming as I looking with hopeful longing and heart full of love for His second. This is what I want my reality to be.