Riverside Community Church Blog

As a young mom with a growing family, Christmas felt like a RUN AWAY 40 hour work week TRAIN about to plow into the full time job I was already doing.   And not just for one week but for 4 weeks.   And then putting it all away!!!!!  I’m breathing deeply just thinking about it.

The feeling of having to make it ALL happen was daunting.  And then there was the pressure of making sure the REAL meaning of Christmas was known and CELEBRATED!!!!!  Birthday cake for Jesus?  Forget it, I was out of energy.

So, how do we recapture the Wonder of the First Christmas?

Wonder: to marvel, to be curious to know, admire, be in awe of, fascination, reverence, surprise, puzzlement

Let’s think about the first Christmas.  Can you imagine the wonder of that first Christmas for Mary? For Joseph?  I’m sure they felt and experienced all of those words describing wonder as well as confusion, pressure and fear of the reality of the circumstance of life.  Imagine young Mary, a virgin and finding herself pregnant by the seed of God.  And bewildered Joseph, wanting to believe and not feel betrayed by his now pregnant fiancé.

From scripture I gather that Mary and Joseph were very devoted to and loved God.  I’m assuming they were familiar with the scriptures Isaiah 7:14.  As it was probably read often in the synagogues where they worshipped.  I’m sure they heard this prophesy read over and over during their childhood.

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

In the midst of trying to figure out very confusing circumstances, did they recognize the 600 year old prophesy unfolding before their eyes?

Did they fully understand what was taking place that first Christmas? The wonder and amazement that God was with them in human form.  And chose to reveal Himself in their ordinary life? 

Did they fully grasp the wonder of the first Christmas “……Emmanuel, meaning God with us.”?

At Christmas time this wonder of God with us comes wrapped in a lot of what I call white noise.  White noise meaning: a constant background noise especially: one that drowns out other sounds:  meaningless or distracting commotion, hubbub.

There’s a lot of hubbub going on right now.  There’s a lot of white noise that drones out the quiet voice of God.  White noise can be hidden or not so hidden expectations, the oh so familiarity of the Christmas story, financial stress, family dynamics, health issues, living situations…... 

I want to take a moment and attempt to tear back a bit of this wrapping that can consume our Christmas celebration of the arrival of Emmanuel….God with us.

So, do me a favor.

WRITE down everything you have to do from now until Christmas morning.

Go ahead, grab a piece of paper and write down everything, as a list in column form.  Make a list including every task from doing laundry to making food lists, shopping lists, cleaning lists, going to work, getting the car inspected, having a business meeting, getting the dog groomed, shopping, wrapping, setting up the guest room for Aunt Sally and anything that is emotionally heavy right now.

Write it all down in column form.

Exhausted yet?  Write down three feelings this conjures up: overwhelmed, depressed, defeated, sad, alone.  Whatever you are feeling.

Now, read each task out loud, one by one and write as you say out loud, with God.  For example; shopping with God.

What feelings did that conjure up? peaceful, encouraged, hopeful…?

You are not alone.

The Christ Child came to earth to provide a way for our salvation and this same Christ Child, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to indwell us as our helper, comforter and every day companion, until He returns again!

There’s the wonder of the first Christmas.  Emmanuel, God with us!

The white noise drones out and hides the wonder of his love and everyday companionship.  It’s like wrapping paper attempting to hide a gift.  Refuse the threat of it being a driving task master that squelches the beauty of this season. Let the white noise be tools in your hands.  The tasks, traditions and even heartaches can be used to capture the true meaning of Christmas; The Christ Child, Emmanuel….. God with us. 

God with us, every single moment of every single day. 

That is the wonder of Christmas!  It’s something to marvel at, to be curious about and to know.  God with us is something to admire, to be in awe of and remain fascinated about.  God with us is a FACT to be revered and to be surprised about!  His presence in the everydayness of life is a mystery to be embraced.

Merry Christmas!

May you recapture the wonderment of it all!  Emmanuel….God with us!

Lynn Jackson

Thrive Leadership Foundation

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