Tea ~ Lonestar Chai
I’ve really been thinking about what Christmas means to me the last couple of weeks. I turned the Pandora Christmas music station on about a week before Thanksgiving while cleaning my house to host my family for the big meal. There’s something about Christmas music that gets people in a good mood. It stirs a desire to make hot tea or cocoa & curl up by the fire or to decorate your Christmas tree with ornaments from your childhood. We just got our first Christmas tree ever, and this is our 6th Christmas together as a married couple. We weren’t boycotting it, we were either out of town, remodeling or living with friends who had one. It never was a big deal to us, but I was super excited to go get a tree together last Friday!
Have you ever thought about the lyrics to some of your favorite tunes? You may find yourself humming them all through the holiday season — White Christmas, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), Silent Night, Joy to the World, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town (which sometimes gets played back to back by different artists on Pandora, DAH! Make it stop!), and no matter what time of year it is, it’s always too early to hear Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time.”
What do these songs say or proclaim? Some of them reminisce on Christmases gone by and reflect on those here or to come. Others CELEBRATE time with family, food or gifts with wonderful melodies and jingle bells. But what nearly all of them have in common is SEEING. Songs & stories of the Christmas season center around “visions of sugar plums,” spying on “Mommy kissing Santa Claus,” and “dreaming of a White Christmas,” “a beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight, walking in (that) Winter Wonderland.”
But why is seeing so important at Christmas? What does this 1 of our 5 senses represent in the month of December? For me and a lot of other people, seeing is believing. It is the fulfillment of promises. Our hope and waiting has not be in vain. There is no separation from you and that person, place or thing you have been longing for (sometimes the other 11 months out of the year).
My thoughts go to a chapter/scene in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott in which (the March family) mother, Marmee, and her 4 daughters are preparing Christmas dinner with extended family and friends. Her husband has been away at war for many months and was injured and hospitalized recently. The girls miss their father dreadfully and fear for his health and safety during these tough times of the American Civil War. But their prayers have been answered! Father surprises his family on Christmas and comes home to them, safe & sound. To say that Marmee and the girls were overjoyed would be an understatement. The youngest, Amy, leaps and grasps his leg, sliding all the way down to his boot, squeezing it tightly. That is more than enough for her.
Of course receiving letters from Father to reassure his family of safety is lovely. But seeing is believing. It is knowing. It is to BEHOLD with your own eyes! There is no need to trust someone else’s account or experience. Gosh, that fills me with awe! This Christmas feels different to me. And I think it’s because I am different. I am craving and aching to behold Jesus more than I ever have. I am itching to focus on God’s promise to us this Advent Season, a baby. I want to bow in worship and glorify him, who is worthy of all praise. Another amazing musical work comes to mind, Handel’s Messiah, which I was fortunate enough to perform in college. This is pulled directly from Isaiah 9:6:
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This is God’s promise to us. A promise of a Savior, the Messiah!
“6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. 8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:6-12
A baby born to a 13-year-old virgin girl. God’s promises fulfilled! Until Jesus was born, we had to trust that God would provide a way to end our separation from Him. We were waiting…and longing. This is still so amazing to me, the miracles that have happened to free me. I still struggle with comprehending God’s love for us. How could He love me that much??? For this Christmas season, Santa doesn’t compare to Jesus. I don’t care if I see snow or, kiss under mistletoe, or open a single gift. There is only 1 Christmas past that means anything to me and I intend to spend the next 20 days reflecting and reminiscing on the birth of Christ. He is more real and alive than any tradition or song. My words do not do Him justice. But if you seek Him, you will see Him. And seeing is believing. “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” John 14:6-7
God wants us to see and behold, that’s why He sent us His Son. He doesn’t give us false hope, He keeps His promises. Always.
Oh come let us adore Him!
If you’d also like to focus on Jesus this Advent Season, follow along with me & the rest of my church each day at Beautiful Advent.