O Come, O Come Emmanuel
The last several years of our ministry have been very different in how each one looked but almost all of them have been a season in which I had very little margin in my life. From work, to a church with an unbelievable number of Christmas services, to stress, or to a newborn, it rarely seems like all was ever calm. All the creatures were always stirring. There were not silent nights. Life was busy. In those years, I kept it simple. Quality family time and a family advent book. Just over two years ago, we left our home state in pursuance of God’s direction for our ministry and we have now landed. For a change, I am feeling some of the calmness this year.
I grew up near family and a lot of it. We had rich traditions that were very meaningful throughout my childhood. Now we live many states away from any family. So this year, I have found myself more than ever contemplating this tradition thing. What makes a tradition? What kind of traditions do I desire to cultivate in my family? Just hop on Pinterest and you can find 8,327 options! Seems like it should be easier than ever to come up with the perfect ones.
Busyness is not meaningfulness.
More is not actually more.
Stress is not success.
Pinterest perfect is not the point.
Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus Christ left heaven to be with us. He is not a distant God but an up close and personal, I’ve been there kind of God. THAT is what we desire to stir in the hearts of our precious families. We want our kids to understand how to walk with the Lord in their daily lives. How to be Jesus to the kids they sit next to, eat with, and play with on the playground. We want them to have a vision of Christmas that is bigger than toys.
So while I wish I had the perfect tradition already conjured up to accomplish these goals that I could share with you, that is not yet the case. But I do know that though I have more margin, I continue to desire to celebrate with intentionality.
There is no purpose in doing things just for the sake of doing things. It is good to spend quality time with family doing things such as baking and crafting. But in addition, let’s be sure to point them to the God who loved us enough to put on flesh and meet us in our mess. The sacredness of a tradition comes from the heart behind it. Are we doing it to glorify Him or does the motivation lie elsewhere?
Whether it’s a season with margin, or one without, He stands there, waiting for us to invite Him to our mess. He wants to meet you this Christmas, right where you are. And He wants to turn your story into a beautiful story of His glory. The way we do that is by turning our hearts away from the world and straight to Him. So let’s stop spinning our wheels and let’s be intentional in our activity as we prepare our hearts for our Immanuel.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”