I opened my eyes and traffic began to move again. The roads by the mall were seasonally crowded, lending more time for thought than driving. It was while sitting in traffic that I realized that Christmas has changed for me over the years. As a child Christmas is magical. Of course, Christ would want to come down here to save us! This world is great! As I got older, I experienced more of the world I live in. I witnessed, to some extent, the pain and disappointment of the human condition. Life is passionately complicated, but it can be saved! Christmas was simply a reminder that hope is real. As I grew, I experienced the world of loss, brokenness, loneliness, and taxes. It is during this season of life I find myself in awe of the power of the Christmas story. This season, Christmas convicted me.
This Advent season, I experienced an answer to a prayer. Yet, when it wasn’t in the form I wanted, I complained. As with all things, I lived these phases of disappointment with gusto. If you’re not going to complain with gusto, why do it at all? As I ran through the gambit of expressions…
“You wouldn’t believe…”
“How did we get here?!”
“Hey Mom, call me back when you can…”
The Holy Spirit convicted me, as with all things spiritual, if the Holy Spirit isn’t going to convict you of your attitude in the middle of an adult temper tantrum why do it at all? I came to a screeching halt.
“I’ve missed Jesus.”
I prayed over an aspect of my life. I was frustrated with God. He was not answering me. I felt like my wheels were spinning. Then, He showed up. He showed how big He is and chose to bless me and my family. One hot minute into this blessing and it wasn’t. It just wasn’t. It wasn’t how I would have blessed me. It was a quieter blessing than I expected. This is when I realized I, as with most of our world, had failed to see Jesus. The details were off. They wanted a King to lead all of Israel to freedom and instead He gave them a baby, a baby who grew into a teacher, not a warrior. The shock of it all! I always assumed the characters in the first century were if I’m honest, stupid. How could you miss the birth of my Savior? How could you miss Jesus! The Jesus we worship every day. The one we call Lord! How could you miss the one whom I love?
“I’ve missed Jesus.”
Christmas convicts us because we realize that though we fail to see Jesus time and time again, this season calls our eyes back to Him. I regularly miss Christ’s presence in my life, and yet God provides renewed opportunity to “get it”. I cannot adequately express how profoundly humbled I was sitting in my car realizing my lack of faith and my arrogance in reasoning that God had made an administrative error in my life. God never makes an administrative oversight. He is intentional and detail oriented. He is not a God of chaos, but of order. He is not a God of trickery, but of clarity.
We are halfway through Advent. We have prayed through the Promise of a savior, we are waiting through the Hope of a King. This week consider for a moment, the earth-shattering faith of wise men who didn’t “miss it”, the bravery of a couple who finally “got it”, and the incredible fact that we “have it”.
Be intentional this month friends, as I know all too well, the blessing, the purpose, and the miracle of Christmas are far too easy to blind ourselves to.