My family and I have just returned from DisneyWorld. Admittedly, one reason why we chose Christmas time for our visit was because we LOVE all the decorations. Although there *were* Christmas decorations, they weren’t in the abundance that we have enjoyed in years past in DisneyLand. Whether this is a DisneyWorld-specific oversight 🙂 or perhaps due to the times changing and people succumbing to the “heat” of critisicm about “focusing” on a Christian Holiday…I am not sure.
What has surprised me is how much I realize–now, in this moment–over the past few years I have heard myself and my family members say “It doesn’t feel like Christmas.” Or lamenting in retrospect, “This year didn’t feel like Christmas.” In fact, when I really stop to ponder it, I wonder how much of this feeling actually motivated our choice to travel to DisneyWorld at the time of year we did. We hoped it would cause it to feel more like Christmas, somehow.
This strikes me as so incredibly hollow. I am convicted, in fact. Why does the number of trees, their sizes, or abundance of lit garlands and ornaments on a tree or if lights are on the house or if I pick the right music to play on the stereo dictate if it “feels” like Christmas or not? Christmas is about something so…NOT external!
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.Instead, it should be that of your inner self,the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,which is of great worth in God’s sight.~ 1 Peter 3:3-4
This morning, this passage reminded me that I allow my perception of my body (an outward thing) color whether or not I feel beautiful. I spent time praying about what a gentle and quiet spirit might actually look like outwardly…and it is funny…these inward things will have an outward appearance or Peter wouldn’t have said what he said here.
Then I realized it…I do the very same thing with Christmas that I do with everything else…I focus on outward things rather than inner things…things that matter most. That is why it doesn’t feel like Christmas to me unless there are “adornment” (ornaments, lights, etc) and gold jewelry (the gold beads I like to put on the tree…) or tons of decorations at Disneyland or everywhere I look.
The truth is Christmas is about an inner quietness, peace and…salvation that will have external ramifications, but it isn’t something that lights, music, and even nativity scenes can generate. Jesus condescended from on high…he chose to allow himself to be wrapped in the weakness and frailties of human flesh so that he could live a sinless life and trade his life for ours, his righteousness for our sin, his joy for our shame…he came to earth to suffer and die. Christmas isn’t about decorations, gifts, lights, trees or great times with family at Disney. Sure, these can be a part of things…just like nice clothing and jewelry can be a part of what makes a woman beautiful…but true beauty of Christmas, of a woman, comes from something so much deeper.
I don’t want to miss that this Christmas.