December 7, 2017
“My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8 (NIV)
The other day, I realized Christmas is quickly approaching. Maybe you’re super organized, you’ve had your holiday plans on the calendar for months, and none of this has snuck up on you at all.
Or maybe you’re like me and find yourself resisting the urge to get in a tizzy and start steamrolling ahead to check everything off your to-do list. This usually leads to tensions running high, finances getting tight and me beating myself up over all the places I fall short.
So, I’ve decided to ask myself one simple question each day: What can I realistically do without losing my joy?
My deepest desire is to keep Jesus at the center of this season and seek Him above all else. Yes, the cry of my heart echoes David’s in Psalm 27:8, “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
Several years ago, I decided to put this into practice, and I gave myself permission to let a few things slide to pursue what mattered most that holiday season. Here’s my journal entry from the night of December 25th that year —
I sit in the quiet watching the lights dance and flicker around what is left of our Christmas festivities. The presents are all opened and half of them strewn about, evidence of happy children that were too tired to carry their treasures to their room. They can do that tomorrow.
Usually a mess of this magnitude would have sent me into a cleaning frenzy complete with finger pointing and tense words, but not tonight. Tonight I’m going to bed with a heart completely at peace. For this was the first Christmas where my family hadn’t missed the One thing. The glory of Jesus Himself.
Oh, we missed other things this year. We missed buying the batteries for toys though their packages were clearly marked, “Batteries Not Included.” We missed a few family members and friends on our not-so-organized Christmas card list. We missed an ingredient from our homemade bread attempt that flopped, literally. We missed the deadline to send our out-of-town presents that I then cleverly marked as Happy New Year gifts. Yes, there were certainly things that were lacking about our holidays this year.
But we did not miss the One thing.
For the first time in years, I made a promise in my heart to keep Christ as the focus of our Christmas celebration, and we actually made good on that promise. We didn’t do it with a lot of commotion or craziness, but we celebrated Jesus in a most glorious way. Not that an outsider would have noticed a huge change. We still decorated the tree, baked our favorite cookies and gave gifts.
But … had someone happened upon our Christmas morning breakfast that year, they would have seen something different. The kids weren’t fidgeting in their chairs waiting to tear open the gifts calling their name from below the tree. They were eagerly awaiting their turn to give a gift to Jesus from their heart.
With a simple candle beside each breakfast plate, we took turns lighting our candle as we explained what gift we were giving from our heart to honor Jesus. My oldest son gave a renewed commitment to tithe, while my youngest daughter gave up her tendency to complain.
Each of us gave a gift that you could not tie a bow around or even touch in any way. But these gifts were precious and sincere. For just a brief moment, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season faded as we invited our Jesus to sit and talk for a while. As we lit the candle next to Jesus’ plate at the table, we each told Him, “Thank You” and “Happy Birthday.”
Oh, sweet friend … what can you let go of this holiday season to really seek Jesus above all else?
Let this be the year you put aside the other things to glorify the One thing we all desperately need this Christmas.
Dear Jesus, I don’t want to spend this Christmas distracted by good things, only to miss out on the best thing — You. Slow me down. Pull me close. I want to be a woman who chooses to delight in the gift of Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (NLT)
Are you looking for a way to slow down and savor the gift of Jesus this Christmas? Lysa TerKeurst’s The Sweetest Story Ever Told Interactive Kit will help you and your family experience the Christmas story in a fresh and creative way as you make cookies together and read through cards that explain how each cookie cutter shape represents a piece of Jesus' birth. Order for your family or someone you love here today.
Start your day with encouragement from Lysa TerKeurst and the First 5 writing team with our free First 5 app.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Make a list of the activities you want to try to fit in this Christmas. Prayerfully ask the Lord if there's anything you need to let go, so you can focus more on the gift of Jesus.