Lindsey Carlson lives in Houston with her worship-pastor husband and their four active kids (all under age 10). Her home is filled with the sounds of childhood (galloping horses, swashbuckling heroes, and the occasional sibling brawl), the near-constant presence of music in some form, and volumes of great literature, old and new. You can catch her regular reflections on faith and worship at Worship Rejoices.
Christmas day is less than a week away. I know this because my six-year-old reminds me every hour on the hour, or so it seems. He’s a tad excited. He told my husband last night, “I know we’re celebrating Jesus’ birth, but I’m more excited about the presents.” At six, he’s never celebrated with Jesus over a slice of cake, but he’s opened presents. He’s keeping it real, telling us what he’s thinking. So here’s what I’m thinking: Christmas offers more than just presents or warm fuzzies.
Christmas reminds me to eagerly anticipate.
I recall one particular Christmas when I had asked for a Cabbage Patch “Crimp & Curl” doll. Her hair was created to be styled, each wired strand wrapped in the signature yarn so it could be easily molded by aspiring hair-stylist-girly-girls everywhere. When I woke up on Christmas morning, I desperately hoped I’d find this doll under the tree. I thought about next Christmas morning and how much easier my wait would be, once the doll was mine. In fact, probably all of life would be better and I’d be happier with a new Cabbage Patch Crimp & Curl of my very own.
After waiting in anticipation, my longing was satisfied. The doll was everything I had expected her to be. She was worth the wait because she was a good gift. It is good to be excited by gifts at Christmas because it reminds us of the anticipation we are to feel as we wait for the return of Christ. (Phil. 3:20)
Christmas reminds me that God provides.
Jesus’ birth unwrapped the fulfillment of God’s promise. That night, anticipation culminated in a lowly manger. No carols, no bells, no tinsel or twinkling lights, but sovereign God wrapped in flesh and veiled in humanity. Mary cradled the baby who would grow up to pay the ransom for the sins of the world.
No longer must we wait in eager anticipation for the atonement of sins. We live in the grace and knowledge of not only his birth, but his sinless life, his sacrificial death, and his ascension into heaven. Hasn’t God faithfully provided?
Christmas reminds us the goodness of the gift we’ve received.
Jesus isn’t a Cabbage Patch doll. He isn’t an iPad or a 42 inch TV. He is the only object our affections can eternally anticipate and always be satisfied by. We will never outgrow our need for Christ’s sacrifice. We will never grow tired of hearing we’ve been forgiven. We will never be bored by his documented words in scripture. He is the ultimate gift.
Christmas reminds us he is coming again.
One day we will see Jesus face to face. And on that day, when every knee bows and every tongue confesses “Jesus Christ is Lord”, our anticipation will be fulfilled and we will recognize God’s provision through His perfect son. And like John the Baptist cried out when he first laid eyes on Jesus, we will exclaim: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (Jn. 1:29)
Lord Jesus, may we be more excited about the anticipation your birth fulfilled, the need you satisfied, and the goodness we’ve been given as we eagerly await your return.