The Things Above - A Guest Post From Haley

1:22 PM



Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child is quite possibly one of the most beautiful things of life.  If I look back on my own Christmas memories, I can recall only the very best, most special of moments, such as the colorful twinkling lights, a grand Christmas tree with piles of presents underneath, Christmas songs that I grew up listening to, and holiday trips to visit my grandparents.  These things were all meaningful and special on their own, but at Christmas it was something bigger, something powerful.

This is the famous “Christmas magic”… the feeling of being safe and protected from the outside world. How simple this seemed when I was young! It was like Christmas in itself could make everything in the whole wide world turn out OK.

However, as I grew older, I saw that the reality was a different case. Sure, it was Christmas- my favorite holiday. It was special. I still loved it. But I also saw that wars didn’t stop, people were still mean to one another, and that my problems didn’t go away. What happened to the so-called “Christmas magic”… or was it even there to begin with?

There are a lot of Christmas songs written around this theme, based on the idea that our troubles will disappear at Christmas time. That’s a nice thought, but it’s really not true. While Christmas is a day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus, the holiday in itself has no power to make our lives better. This is a truth that we realize as we get older; and it can be depressing to realize that in actuality, Christmas is no different from any other day.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. While the holiday season is just that -- a holiday season -- the reason we celebrate Christmas has power to change our lives. Christmas Day is just another day of the year, but Jesus can live in our lives all year round! Sadly, this amazing truth is often forgotten amongst the piles of wrapping paper and strains of holiday music.

I wrote a Christmas skit last year for my youth group with the theme of not forgetting Christ in the busyness of the season. In the skit, one of the characters admonishes, “Especially now at Christmas, maybe we need to step back from the little things and remember the biggest thing: Jesus.”

How true is this? We go around saying “Jesus is the reason for the season” and post “Keep the Christ in Christmas” on our social media networks. We remind ourselves not to let Santa and presents distract us from the Christmas story. But at the same time, we often let our worries and trials overwhelm us. We lose our focus on Jesus when we’re focused on life’s problems. Sure, life isn’t perfect, even at Christmastime. “Christmas magic” is a myth. But shouldn’t we follow Colossians 3:1-2, which says,


“Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things of the earth.”

What a clear message these verses give us! Seek Christ, not earthly matters. Why? Because the things of this earth won’t last! Matthew 6 is another great passage that reminds us not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth, but in heaven. The chapter goes on to tell us not to trouble ourselves with worry, but to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.  Scripture is clear that we are to keep our focus on God, not on materialistic, shallow things, and not on our worries and fears.

The weird thing is, we do this all the time; not just at Christmas. I suggest to you that, no matter where you are or what day it is, to stop focusing on the “little” things, the trials that we face, the troubles that follow us. To you these might not seem small, but compared to God, they really are! He can definitely handle them. So put your faith in God and then rest in that. Look to Jesus and keep your eyes on Him. Everything else will fade in moderation.

This is my eighteenth Christmas, and it is going to be completely different from any of the Christmases in my past. I moved to a new state recently and I’m far away from family and friends.  I’m not going to be able to be at my grandma’s house on Christmas Day or do most of the Christmas traditions I took pleasure in for many years.  It’s hard. But as I look back at the Christmases past, and then look to the Christmases of the future, only one thing shines in perfect clarity, and that is Christ. He is the reason why we celebrate this season, and the reason why we go through our lives day by day.

Because of Him, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

“And Mary said: ‘My soul exalts in the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.’” Luke 1:46-47


Rest (Steve Green)

Rest, the Lord is near
Refuse to fear
Enjoy His love

Trust, His mighty power
Fills every hour
Of all your days

(chorus)
There is no need
For needless worry
With such a Savior
You have no cause to ever
Doubt. His mighty Word
Still reassures
In any trial

Rest, the Lord is there
Lift up your prayer
For He is strong

Trust, He’ll bring release
And perfect peace
Will calm your mind

(chorus)

Call Him, if you grow frightened
Call Him, with loving care
He’ll lift the burden and you’ll

(chorus)

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4 of your thoughts

  1. It was nice to read something of yours once again. I really miss GT! :) Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have felt those same feelings. Like last year with the horrible school shooting in Connecticut & this year with the one out west... and countless other news stories and evil happenings. But, that is why Jesus came and was born to offer Himself up & take our place as our Savior. People still need that tiny baby that grew into the One who hung on a cross in the middle of two thieves. He is still desperately needed by the thieves & murderers, liars & hypocrites, you & I. Most turn their backs on Him, but He is still there seeking all of us wretched. Christmas does not change the fact that evil exists, but it does give humanity hope that they can be saved through Christ if they but accept & obey Him. He is still in control even in the dark times. May your days, dear Kara, be merry & bright through His light!
    Love,
    -Bess-

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Bess,
      I definitely remember the shootings in Connecticut last year; I actually outlined this a few weeks after that happened. How comforting it is to have a God we can turn to amongst those things!
      Haley

      Delete
  3. Haley, this was such a beautiful article! :) Thanks so much for writing.

    ReplyDelete

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