Yesterday I ran into a good friend at a shoe store. She was preparing for Christmas, had just moved into a new home and was calm as could be. I was excited to see her so we sat down on a couch in the middle of the shoe store and began chatting. We laughed about a little and then we talked about Christmas chaos and exhaustion. She didn’t have any. How? I wondered. Over the next moments we talked about Christmas magic.
She told me that a close family member taught her a lesson. This woman went all out for Christmas- every room in her home had Christmas decorations, the Advent candles were lit, holiday food was made. She tried desperately to create an experience of Christmas magic for her loved ones. One Christmas eve, she was working so hard at making everything lovely for her family that she forgot to light the Christ Candle. Without warning, she screamed, realizing what she had done. The magic was ruined.
Each of us yearns for a Christmas experience that supercedes all others. This is what we mean by Christmas magic. We struggle to find a bit of peace, or joy or whatever gladness will come our way. And we want our loved ones to have these too. We mothers, work especially hard at creating Christmas experiences for our children because we want them to have something very special. Then we collapse.
The million-dollar question is: does any one of us get the magic? Little children who believe in Santa can experience a sense of mystery but what about us? This deep desire- and the disappointment that follows when it is not filled- is one of the biggest reasons depression skyrockets during the holidays. Every human wants that deep, rich experience that will make life better. But it seems elusive.
Here’s where we go wrong. Our yearning for that experience is good and, I believe, placed in us by God Himself. But in our earnestness, like my friend’s loved one, we miss it because we are looking in the wrong places and we are trying too hard. We scream when we fail to light the right candle on the right day, burn the cookies, undercook the turkey or get into an argument with our kids. We blew it- the chance to get what we so desperately want at Christmas.
Let’s do something radical this Christmas. Let’s pay attention to that tug in our hearts and dig long enough to find that what we want is not only available, it is right in front of us. It is the Christ Himself- the God in man form who dipped down from heaven to tell us something extraordinary- I love you. I, God, love you. Just as you are. Right now. In this place.
If you feel that yearning, stop what you are doing. Take 20 minutes and sit alone quietly. Don’t pray a list of requests to God. Just sit. And listen to God speak to you from heaven about what you mean to Him and how He wants you to experience more love in your life. He means it. He really means it and that’s what we have to look forward to this Christmas. We get not just the miracle God’s birth from a teenage girl, but also the miracle that we can experience something wider and deeper than magic. We can experience God Himself.
Merry Christmas friends!