“Too often, the Christmas story only impinges on the periphery of our lives.” ~ Ian Strachan, Today In a Manger
With so much Christmas to celebrate, the danger of the holidays isn’t stress. It’s complicating it so much, that we miss out on the story of Jesus, showing up in us today.
Christmas can get so complicated.
That’s because life doesn’t stand still. Neither do the commercials or the holiday spam.
There’s also the added pressure of expectations bubbling underneath.
I’m not talking about the expectations for presents sitting under a tree.
Each of us is waiting for God in some area of uncertainty in our lives.
We’ve been on pause in our stories, watching for some sign of certainty to move ahead.
But we’re also not sure which way is best.
When doubt, fear or worry surround us, especially during the holidays, we wonder:
Can Christmas really change our stories?
How can one day make that big of a difference?
The Other Side of 24 hours
It’s the day before Christmas Eve.
It’s just another day on the job for the shepherds watching flocks by night.
They have no idea what’s waiting for them on the other side of 24 hours.
— They will be the only ones personally invited to see the Messiah, right in the delivery room.
— Angels are actually going to light up the sky and blast a singing telegram from God in surround sound.
— Then, just as quickly, the sky will drop back into dead silence, darkness and stars standing in their places, just as they’ve always hung in panoramic view.
The shepherds will wonder.
Was that for real?
Did I actually see and hear what I think just happened?
When God sends us a message — just to us and no one else — we will stagger into that fearful and wonderful place the shepherds found themselves 2,000 years ago.
We will find ourselves in the Fields of Faith.
Fields of Faith
God does that.
He drops by to give us some exciting joyful news.
He tells us about His plans with a simple announcement. No explanations.
His timing is peculiar too.
God hits us with an inspiration, when we’re feeling the most ordinary.
Like the shepherds, we encounter God as we’re sitting on the outside, on the fringes of what we think is our best.
Just as we get excited — just as we begin daring to believe what we we’re hearing or seeing about God and His invitation — Whoosh!
Everything returns back to everyday sameness.
Circumstances and people around all circling and in holding patterns, just as they’ve always been.
This is when we must hold onto faith and gather our courage.
Wild Eyes & Open Hearts
C’mon. Let’s do it.
Let’s say to ourselves — and to each other — just as the shepherds blurted, bright eyed and open hearted to each other:
“Let us go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15 GWT)
In an instant, God can call out to us in the field of faith and invite us to leave where we are, to go and see.
We may not believe it, but God is calling us out into the open, wooing us to radically leave the routines we’ve established behind.
We will have to say good bye to some old ways and even some familiar expectations.
But when it’s time to point our steps to go and discover what God’s told us, it’s time for us to move out.
What Stories Need
Whether we’re anxious about —
a new dawn or descending end,
a breaking or beginning of relationships,
nurturing a fragile dream,
or bearing up under unexpected trials,
— we each have one story to live and we want so much to get it right.
God uses these tender places to call out to us.
Stop looking for the black and white.
Look for Jesus.
He can change your story — the story of Christ in you.
What at we need to choose — what all our stories need — is faith to believe God is (really) with us.
* Will we fall back on the routines of the holidays to get us through this month?
* Or will we journey to “Bethlehem” — just like the shepherds who left their fields — to unwrap Jesus new this year?
As you think and savor this month of Christmas, be attentive for what God has in store for you.
No matter how brief the encounter or how few the words.
He said it. And you heard it.
Let us go and discover what the Lord has for each of us — unwrapping Christmas — new this year.
“This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time,
but now it’s out in the open…
The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you.“
~ Colossians 1:27 (The Message)
How is God calling you to leave, go or see?
How are you unwrapping Jesus this year?
Pull up a chair. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Click here to comment.
By Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith for everyday life.
Looking to celebrate Christmas simply — with a desire to discover Jesus fresh this season?
Join Bonnie and the community at Faith Barista as they swap stories in December’s Unwrapping Jesus Series on Faith Barista. Share the journey to discovering Jesus new this Christmas season — add your voice too!