A couple weeks ago the boys and I were playing with our Fisher Price Little People Nativity set. We carefully put the scene together piece by piece. When we got to the end, the baby Jesus was nowhere to be found. I looked all over the toy room. I emptied out bins and the toy box. I couldn’t find him anywhere. After a few days, I finally found him under the couch wedged right by the foot so he was easy to miss.
Here we are, only “2 sleeps” until Christmas Eve…and it doesn’t feel like Christmas. I have my Christmas tree up…I’ve been listening to Christmas music…watching Christmas movies…But it doesn’t feel like Christmas. I feel like Charlie Brown or Little Cindy Lou-Who. “Instead of feeling happy, I feel sorta…let down.” “Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you? Why have you gone away? Where is the laughter you used to bring me? Why can’t I hear music play?” I feel like all the fun Christmasy stuff is happening…but it’s not really happening in my heart. I’m totally missing Christmas.
I remember growing up and not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve. The warmth of friends and family, putting up decorations, opening presents, eating delicious treats and hot, homemade meals…It just filled me up with all joy inside. I loved to lay in our dark living room with nothing but the Christmas tree lights on. We used to have blue lights, so everything was just so peaceful and dim. The glow of the lights would touch my heart…almost like magic. I would go to bed feeling satisfied and loved. Christmas was, truly, the most wonderful time of year.
But not this year.
I really can’t put my finger on it, but my guess is that Jesus has been lost in my heart this year. He’s been buried underneath all the toys and wrapping paper. He’s lost in the decorations. He has taken a backseat to all of the sickness our family has been enduring these last several months. He’s underneath the piles and piles of anxiety that I’ve been feeling for months.
Sometimes it is hard to find joy during suffering. I have had several friends have miscarriages this year…some of them more than one. I’ve watched as family members have suffered at the hands of disease. I’ve witnessed a daughter lose her father, a husband lose a wife and mother to his children. Marriages have dissolved. People have moved. I’ve watched on as children have been overcome with terminal illness. Struggles…nothing but struggles. Pain. I have to force myself to think of things that are positive…like the friends who have had babies, job opportunities, making new friends…We are so blessed. So incredibly blessed.
So now, here I am, just a couple days left until Christmas…the day we celebrate the vastness of God’s love for us, that He sent his only son to become a man that we might be saved…that I might have life and have it abundantly. And instead of feeling blessed, I feel stressed.
Oh how I long to look at our Christmas tree and feel joy fill my heart. If I ever want that feeling again, I’m going to have to refocus my heart on the real reason for Christmas. Instead of thinking about all the presents we will give to the boys, the fun foods and craft projects, while those are all good things, I will have to be intentional about fixing my mind on Jesus. I cannot lose track of him.
Even now, my heart is heavy. Please, God, train my heart to follow you. That’s what You’re doing, right? You’re reminding me that I need You. My heart needs to be broken in so I would not be selfish and lost. I am Your child. Fix my eyes, heart, my soul on you.