I’d have to say that Miracle on 34th Street, the 1990’s version, is my favourite Christmas movie. And then there’s my favourite scene. It’s near the end, when Santa Claus is put in jail and they are questioning his sanity. This poor man who is so sweet, generous and kind is getting treated so poorly and facing a court battle because of his statement of who he is. (Remind you of anything biblical, by the way?) So the department store starts a rally around this man saying “We believe in Santa Claus… Do you?” And the next few segments of the movie show people putting signs in their window saying, “We believe” or “I believe.” It’s inspiring somehow and always makes me want to cry! There is something powerful in those words, “I believe.” It’s a verb, meaning it’s something we are actively doing with our minds and our hearts.
I’ve been trying to prepare my heart for Advent because I want this season, this Christmas, to be different from the others. Here’s some words I would use to describe the state of my heart in previous Christmas seasons: striving, people pleasing, hurried, busy, distracted. I feel such a strong conviction this year that this is not how Christmas is meant to be experienced. I feel strongly that Jesus is offering us another way, as He always does. And it’s up to us to live with intention in this season and to grab hold of the freedom, joy, wonder and hope this season brings.
What would your Christmas season look like if it wasn’t busy and full of stress and distractions? Is it even possible for it to look differently? The minute I start to think about how it could look differently, I get stuck in lies about how I need to meet other people’s expectations. Well, isn’t that just like the Enemy to plant nasty lies in our hearts during a time of year we seek to devote ourselves to reflecting on the wonder of our Saviour. Isn’t that just like him? Deceiving our hearts to try and pull us away from adoration and worship? If we are hurried and obsessed with people pleasing, it’s going to be difficult to have a heart that has space enough for Jesus to come in and reveal His wonders to us. So, friends, what do we do?
I think it comes down to one thing. How desperately do you want it? Oh, it’s easy to say, “I want my heart to be in the right place this Christmas! I don’t want to be busy. I’ll stay away from distractions!” It’s a whole other ball game to actually get after a new way of doing Christmas. I realize that I could do lip service to Advent, go through the motions, and maybe even have some wonderful moments of connection with the Lord and adoration of Him. But I think theres more to it. I think a better way is possible.
You know what I’d love to be able to say come January 1? “Wow…I’ve never experienced Christmas that way before. I’ve never felt so connected to the Christmas story. I’ve never experienced the joy of the season with my family and friends quite like that. My heart is overflowing with worship. He came and He lived! He is enough. He is worthy. He is everything.”
Will you join me on this journey of seeking a new way to do Christmas? It’s so much more about the state of our hearts than what is happening around us. We will still have shopping and wrapping. We will still have family gatherings. We will still have lights and trees and toys and candy canes. But we’ll participate in these things because of Jesus. We won’t just do all the things and pretend it’s about Him. We’ll ask ourselves what’s important, we’ll prioritize and simplify and ask Him for wisdom in it all. We’ll let the Holy Spirit lead us as we seek a new way.
It sort of seems impossible, right? Could my heart really and truly be so involved in worshipping Him that I don’t get caught in my old way of doing things? That I don’t get stuck in the lies? Yes. Because…Jesus.
Holy Spirit, would you empower us to experience the miracle of your birth differently this year? Help us not to simply hang our sign saying, “We believe” and call it a day. Help us to have these words written on our hearts each day leading up to Christmas, so that when we get there, we truly do believe.