Just like that Christmas is over. Can y’all even believe how this month FLEW? Christmas time is my absolute favorite time of the year and this year it became even sweeter as I married my love just a few weeks ago. I keep telling Mitchell that the best decision I ever made was to have a wedding in December because now I’ll have an anniversary and Christmas at the same time every year forever. What a dream, am I right? Anyways, besides the point. This year Christmas seemed to slip away from me, right through my fingers. I tried different things every day to make sure that didn’t happen. I was sure to watch all the right Christmas movies as often as possible. I played Christmas music every chance I got. I attempted to decorate my new home with as many Christmas decorations as I could. I looked at lights, wrapped gifts, ate too much, spent too much, threw parties, and attended events. I really wanted to ensure that Christmas time actually felt like the Christmas time I have always known and loved. You see, the Christmas I have known for 22 years was a little different for me this year for many reasons, the biggest being that I got married. The whirlwind of a planning and having a wedding, going on a honeymoon, working, attempting to buy everyone last minute Christmas gifts, moving, decorating, shopping, cleaning, adulting…it was all different than “normal.” I spent so much time trying to make it what my definition of “normal” was, that I feel like I missed Christmas. It’s like I was trying to convince myself that it was actually Christmas and that it can still feel like Christmas with broken traditions, new traditions, and change. While I was busy focusing on what has been, I missed a lot of what is, which hindered me from appreciating all of the good that came along with new for me this Christmas season.
I missed how Jesus was trying to bring me closer to Him, that is, until just a couple weeks ago.
Typically, change doesn’t bother me. I am aware that most change is usually beneficial and that it takes some time to adjust, and if you actually give yourself the time you need to adjust, it soon becomes your new normal. The change I experienced this Christmas season was nowhere near a bad change, don’t misunderstand me. Getting married to Mitchell is the second-best thing that has ever happened to me. We just had to adjust to the change of being married, living together, and building and establishing a new home together all in the middle of something that hasn’t changed for me in 23 years…Christmas traditions. It was more weird than hard for me. I so loved being able to build our own traditions as a family for the first time that we will get to carry with us every year moving forward, and I loved sharing this special time and season with my new husband. I just had to let myself adjust at times. Nothing bad, it just took some time.
In the midst of the chaos this Christmas (and every Christmas), I was reminded to look for Jesus. As much as I love the music and decorations, every year I try to make a conscious effort to take a step back and understand what it is the Lord is trying to teach me and seek out how He wants to remind me that He is the reason we celebrate Christmas at all. It’s more than just “Jesus is the reason for the season.” If you look, the story of our Savior’s birth brings so much to our lives that goes far beyond one month or one day of the year. It spills over into our everyday lives, and carries so much weight, joy, and meaning that can be applied to our relationship with and knowledge of Him. Now, I bet you can’t guess what it is He spoke to me about this Christmas season… change. God has a funny, yet powerful, way of working, doesn’t He?
This wasn’t just about the change that is happening in my own life, but about the change Jesus brought to me, and to you, when He took human form and stepped into the world as a baby.
God, the Creator of the universe, the One who breathes and speaks life, wanted to save His people and do everything He could to make it possible for us to live in relationship with Him. He came to us from heaven as a perfect baby boy, that experienced human things and holy things. He could have chosen to stay in His “normal” place, (that, by the way, happens to be perfect and free from pain, suffering, temptation, sin, etc.) but instead, because He wanted to help us know Him better and for us to understand how to live a life according to Him, He chose to give up the more comfortable option so that He could relate to us. Talk about change. Not only am I encouraged by the much more challenging change Jesus experienced, I am reminded that Jesus embodied change in order to change our lives. He left what was familiar, became unfamiliar, and called us to live in relationship with Him, which also goes hand in hand with a calling to live an unfamiliar and uncomfortable life. A life that changes, and a life that is changed.
We celebrate the birth of Jesus during the season of Christmas, but have you ever asked yourself why? Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus? Why is it something worth celebrating? Because the birth of Jesus changed the world forever. The birth of Jesus was the first step to changing the rest of our lives. The birth of Jesus was the beginning of a faith story that would create our faith stories. We are changed because of Jesus and what He came to earth to do. While many of us attempt to make Jesus the reason for the season by buying nativity scenes, getting signs for our yards, and attending church services during the month of December, we forget that the birth of Christ is not confined to one day or month of the year. Instead it is what the rest of our days and months should be built on. Jesus’ birth caused and still causes us, His people, to change and become His followers.
Even though this Christmas season “changed” for me this year, God so graciously reminded me of the change Jesus experienced when He entered this world, and the change He intended to bring into our lives with His entrance. We are called to be His hands and feet, extending acts of love as Christ did when He came alongside of us and entered into our brokenness. With that calling, we choose to live a life that is constantly changing. We know that most things will never be normal, and we learn to adjust, understanding that we are loved by a Savior that gives us the courage to let go of the familiar, and enter into seasons of change that grow us, shape us, stretch us, and allow us to appreciate the “new” that places us right where He knows we are meant to be.
I hope that you all had a Merry Christmas shared with loved ones, celebrating the birth of the King. 2017 was a year of change for me, all of which resulted in bringing me closer to my God. Thank you all for your support during each season of change I faced this year. I pray 2018 brings you change surrounded by people that continually point you to Jesus, and change that moves you closer into relationship with our Lord.