At the beginning of this year, a lot of my Christian writer friends were posting about their word for the year. While I had never done it before, I decided to pray about what my word would be. My word for 2018 is “declutter,” based on Hebrews 12:2.
For most of the year, I decluttered my living space, my work space, my schedule, my relationships, and my heart. My goal was to get rid of all the junk in my life so I had more room for God. Now, at the end of this year, God is asking me to do the converse: make room for God so that there’s no room for the junk.
If I’m honest, I’ll admit that there was a lot of junk this year, not only in my personal life, but in the world around me. Social media has practically become a garbage dump where people are venting about random stuff that no one cares about, and then other people are tearing them apart for it. I’ve spent a huge chunk of this year (you know, eleven months), trying to find the redemptive qualities of the toxic environments, when God has been calling me to run away! Now, I’m not saying all social media is bad, but in this season, it is not the best for my soul. No more looking for the nutrition facts of bio-hazardous material!
All the while, Christmas sort of just showed up, and now we’re plagued with the same question that we are every year: What is the true meaning of Christmas?
Well, what is it? Why do you get together with your family every year? Why do you do all your shopping? Why did you buy that ugly Christmas sweater for the party you’re attending next week?
I believe in the midst of all the junk in our lives, we run the risk of missing the point. Sure, family, friends, giving gifts, belief in miracles, and even politics are all important, but they’re not the point. When we realize what the point is, that’s when all the other stuff in our life makes sense.
Christmas (in particular, the Advent season) is about God coming to Earth in the form of a baby, Jesus. The prophets spoke of this child for centuries before He was even born. I was just reading in my devotional today that Jesus fulfilled 108 prophecies spoken about Him during His life on Earth. When Christ was born, God did something huge, something that had never been done before, something that we are still talking about millennia later! I think it’s time we pay attention to the message God is saying to us (and has been saying to us for thousands of years) through this miracle.
Jesus coming to Earth speaks to people’s heart in different ways, especially since He came for multiple reasons. He came to set us free from our sin. He came to give us an example of righteousness. He came to put the law to death. He came to show what it means to be humble. He came because He loves us.
Sure, the thrill of opening presents on Christmas morning is euphoric. Seeing my family is such a joy. Listening to Christmas music and decorating the tree and wearing silly ugly Christmas sweaters is essential to get through the holiday blues. But nothing gives me more lasting joy, more perfect peace, more everlasting love, than knowing that the God who created the Heavens and the Earth came to this broken, desperate, hopeless world to show us how to live and to demonstrate His love for us.
Remembering the true meaning of Christmas makes all the junk disappear.