One of my favorite Christmas songs when I was little was "The Little Drummer Boy." It always made me tear up, and I think what I liked about it was the idea that a child could have something to offer the Baby Jesus. It made me feel like I had a place there at the manger. I had no idea that there really was no drummer boy there until I was older; even my little nativity scene had a boy with a drum. But, I still love the idea that I would be welcome there and the little I had to offer could make Him smile.
I have to confess that this year just doesn't feel super Christmas-y. I'm playing Christmas music, and loving it, and we have our Christmas tree up, although strands of lights keep going out, one by one. I might as well go back to the non-pre-lit tree. It would be less trouble. But that's another topic.
I know that this time of year brings with it joy, and pain, for many people. Personally, I am thankful that though my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at this time last year, she is now cancer-free!! That she is still here makes the season meaningful.
At the same time, my friend, Summer, has just begun treatments to battle cervical cancer. It's hard to want to celebrate the season knowing what she is going through. I think of her constantly and pray often. For the past two years we have gone to their house on Christmas night for dinner, along with another family. Since none of us travel on the big day, we decided it would be fun to celebrate with friends...who are like family.
This actually would have been the first year I would be "sane." The first year I had just had a baby and was, a bit hormonal. The second year was slightly better, but I think I was still tightly wound. So, I'm a bit bummed we won't be able to spend that night together. Next year.
I think the fact that I find it hard to feel joyful exposes something: I am focused more on the human side of Christmas than the God side of it. If I am going to fuss and complain about how Jesus is supposed to be the focus of the season, not Santa Claus, not material possessions, greed, etc., then I have to also hold myself to that same standard.
Christmas is about celebrating Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. That the Word became flesh and dwelt among men, arriving in a stinky barn, no less. That He came and changed everything - one sacrifice for all. That He came and made a way for me. That He was bruised for our transgressions and by His wounds we are healed. It's about remembering that I have a great High Priest, who is familiar with my temptations and suffering. And He intercedes for me day and night. That because of Him I can approach God's throne of grace with boldness and confidence...that I can come before Him with all my concerns and requests, knowing that He hears. That my prayers go up like incense and they are always before Him. This is why I even bothered praying for my mom last year and why I pray for Summer now...I KNOW He hears. I belong to Him and so does she.
This should be my focus at Christmas. The reality is that the feeling I had as a child when I heard "The Little Drummer Boy," that I belonged there, is right. I do belong. As an adult I know this not because of that song, but because the Word tells me I do. Knowing that changes my perspective. He gave all for me. He is worthy of worship.
The challenge is to believe the truth and release our cares and hurts to Him. That is the only way to find peace. No matter what is going on around you, celebrate Christmas...the entrance of Immanuel and the revelation of Grace. Of Peace. Of the source of Hope.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.