That time of year for stockings and ornaments and last-minute shopping and snuggling deep into soft couches and sipping warm things and the sound of Christmas music and laughter sweet. And then there’s that feeling of overwhelming joy and peace that you usually don’t feel any other time of the year. Even non-believers can’t deny that.
So we eagerly write lists of things we want for Christmas.
And even in the midst of all the decorating, and smell of fir, and gift-giving, and memories, my soul can’t breathe.
My soul just can’t breathe.
And I wonder at this. Why can’t I feel the fullness of joy and peace during the Christmas season?
Then I hear the gentle, quiet voice of my conscience, “Because you’ve wrapped Christmas in the suffocating bundle of your selfishness.”
I stand there, in shock. My selfishness?
The reality of this sets in.
And I am blown away by these words.
My blind eyes open wide, as I realize what I have been doing.
That I’ve been robbing Christ of the glory this Christmas, by taking Him out and not letting Him be the heart of it.
Oh, how my sin reeks. And I am so weak. And I really just feel so lost, groping in the dark for something to hold on to, as this massive wave of guilt floods around me and chokes me.
I realize that this is another sin that made Him hang heavier on the Cross.
And there’s nothing I can do about it. I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t be perfect.
Trust me, I’ve tried. But I can’t. All I can do is pray that, oh, God, will You forgive me, and why must you always shower me and overwhelm me with that amazing grace I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around?
My soul cries out to Him for help as I stumble through the dark. And I find His feet again and begin to cry. But what He does? He doesn’t beat me or hurt me or yell at me, but He reprimands me (Hebrews 12:5&6), then He cups my face in those nail-pierced hands, and says to this broken girl, “Go, and sin no more.”
Oh, how I love Him. And, oh, how undeserving am I of His unfailing grace and love!
I just want to encourage you, this Christmas, to focus on what really matters. Christmas isn’t about the presents, the family time, or even the act of giving itself. (Charlie Brown knew that much.)
But it is about The Gift. The One who came down from heaven and was born as a baby in a manger in order to be bruised, beaten, and crucified. This is the meaning of Christmas.
And my soul can breathe again. Because the truth sets me free.*