• Melissa Burgess

All I Want for Christmas

Christmas is a beautiful time of year filled with traditions, family, and fun. As Americans, we have an entire month crammed full of events giving us the feeling of Holiday cheer.

I am so conditioned to Christmas traditions that just a few days ago I said: “it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until I have watched Elf.” What? Excuse me? Did I just say that?

Unfortunately, I did, in fact, connect my heart toward the holiest of advent seasons directly with the silliest of all entertainment movies. How often we say things like “Jesus is the reason for the season” or “keep Christ in Christmas,” but never stop to evaluate what those statements entail.

Indeed, Christmas celebrations and traditions are not harmful to anyone. However, what is destructive to our spirit man is when we become so engulfed in traditional feelings of Christmas that we miss out on the reverence of a soon coming King.

"Are we so engulfed in the traditional feelings of Christmas that we miss the Holy reverence of a soon coming King?"

The gospel of Luke chapter 2 tells of Christ's humble entrance into the world. It paints a picture of Mary & Joseph traveling to Bethlehem. When the time comes for Mary to give birth there is no room in the inn and out of desperation they settle for a nearby stable where Christ, the perfect Son of God, is born.

In a nearby region, shepherds were watching their flocks by night, and an angel of the Lord appeared. The glory of the Lord shone round about them making the shepherds afraid, but the angel said: “fear not, I am bringing you good news.”

One of the most significant challenges in the Christmas season is what we see in the story of simple shepherds. They challenge us to go through this season with a heart of reverent fear stewarded through a heart seeking the Glory of God.

Reverent fear often is defined as a form of respect; it is when we fear displeasing God. We don’t fear displeasing Him, because He is an ogre waiting to lower the judgement hammer. Instead, we fear displeasing Him because He overwhelms our heart with the good things He has in store for us.

"The realization of how good and holy our God is will invoke a reverent fear that in turn produces worship and adoration from our lips."

We see this in the encounter between the angels and the shepherds. The angels came, and the glory of God came with them. The angels shared the good news with the shepherds, and then they shouted with exaltation “Glory to God in highest, on earth, peace, good will toward men.”

"This fearful encounter was nothing short of a beautiful holy moment."

A reverent heart means not having a Christmas consumed with shopping trips, parties, food, and fun. Many of us soothe ourselves by reading the Christmas story once or attending a Christmas Eve service. Maybe we give a little in the bucket next to the guy that rings the bell, or we adopt a child off the angel tree. These things are good, and they all help celebrate the season, but none can create the same beautiful holy moment brought on by a reverent fear of a soon coming King.

Take the ultimate challenge this Christmas and schedule a sabbatical from shopping, family, and fun.

"Press into the presence of God, seek His glory, embrace holy reverent fear, and then be flooded with the Christ of Christmas."

The shepherds again lead us in the story by example. They too left their sheep to see what had happened and discover the presence of Jesus.

Immediately following their encounter with Baby Jesus, the shepherds shared the news with others and praised God. The scripture says in Luke 2 verse 20, “and the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

"For us to truly have Christ at the center of Christmas, we must encounter the Christ of Christmas."

What better gift can we give than to have a fresh heart stirred by His presence to share with a hurting world. This season is difficult for many finding it a time of grief and sorrow. Imagine the Body of Christ not at the shopping malls or the events, but instead ministering the news of Jesus Christ to the lost and weary.

What if our December calendar cleared of all events?

What if we exalted Him as the most significant gift and refused to rest until we found someone that would hear His message and receive Him into their heart?

What if our one goal during this season was to make Him known?

I know, I know, you are saying “that seems a bit extreme.” I am not asking you to believe me or even for you to agree with me. I am challenging you the same way I am challenging myself, to get alone with God and listen to what He has in His heart this Christmas.

The glory of the Lord reminds us of how unworthy we are to have received His Son, Jesus. His presence humbles us and prevents us from glorifying ourselves.

"We cannot simply keep Christ in Christmas in word only; we must match our words with action."

Christmas is not a season to squeeze God into the midst of watching Elf and eating Christmas candy. It is a season of expectation and fearful reverence for a soon coming King.

What if all we wanted for Christmas was Jesus?

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