When I was a little girl my favourite Christmas decoration belonged to my grandmother. It was a Merry Christmas sign that hung in her kitchen window. The letters were studded with mini lights that flashed and changed colours. I would sit at her table while she mashed the squash and buttered the rolls, watching as the lights twinkled fast and then slowed, fading from red to purple to blue. To me it was mesmerizing. It was the most beautiful thing I knew.
How sad that Christmastime — a season for stillness and awe and beauty — can turn into a list of to-dos, items to buy, and sales to get. I am easily pulled into the rat race and competition, wanting to fill up the calendar, finish the shopping, and have the Pinterest-perfect tree. But when I pause and take time to reflect, I remember this little girl. My grandmother’s Merry Christmas sign captivated me because it embodied something that I was hungry for. Beauty. The beauty of this season reminds me of who my heart is yearning for.
Emmanuel has come. God is now with us.
This is the beautiful truth of Christmas, the truth I want to savour. But I can’t be full of awe and wonder when my heart is distracted.
I was driving recently when the sun was at that low point in the sky to make visibility horrible. It glared on my windshield and I could not see anything but that blinding light. It was a horrible driving experience but it reminded me of how I want to approach this season, and really, my entire life.
The light of Christ makes all the other distractions in my life fade to the background. The beauty of who He is makes the other stuff — like those signs screaming SALE from every store window —seem less important. He becomes my one distraction. He distracts me with the things of His kingdom instead of the kingdom I’m trying to build around myself.
This is my challenge for December. To ask Jesus to help me walk through this season as He would. His words in Matthew 11:28-30 are on my heart these days:
Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. (The Message)
Wherever Jesus went, He saw people. Really saw them. He listened to them, encouraged them, blessed them.
I disappoint myself again and again for not doing as Jesus would. I rush around mindlessly. I buy things I don’t need. I don’t treat people like they are beloved children of God. But I do know who I want to be. And so I keep asking Jesus to help me be more like that person. Like the little girl at the kitchen table who found something beautiful and held it in her gaze.
Lord, help me see your Kingdom this Christmas. Be my guiding light, be the One that distracts me. Lead me through each day — I want to walk with you and work with you. I want to learn your unforced rhythms of grace. Help me bring your beautiful Kingdom to each person and place I encounter. Amen.