Jesus, cast a look on me. Give me sweet simplicity. Make me poor and keep me low. Seeking only Thee to know.

Monday, January 11, 2010

still thinking on Christmas...

i found this helpful, from Noel Piper's Treasuring God in Our Traditions...

"One November a friend of mine almost lost her child. By Christmas the crisis was past, but they still were not sure of the long-term implications. She e-mailed me during the season that had always been her favorite time of the year:
Surprisingly, I’m finding Christmas hard. A little bit I resent all the hoopla; sometimes I want to shout, “Don’t you know my baby could have died?” At the same time I’m very grateful she’s alive, and very aware that she might not have been.
So you’d think I’d be really, really happy! That’s a pretty secular statement. In spiritual terms, Christmas is not very meaningful to me this year one way or the other. I feel a bit like God and I are on a journey together, seeing and doing a lot, but certainly not staying anywhere for any length of time.
My answer to her could well be the summary of this chapter:
It’s not at all surprising that Christmas is hard for you this year. The reason for Christmas is the same as it ever was, and nothing is more essential to our lives than the Incarnation.
What’s different for you, I expect, is that the traditions we wrap around December 25 to make it different from other days, those traditions and activities are as nothing to you this year. In fact, the thought of them probably weighs like a lump of lead in your belly. So what! Trees are nothing. Feasts are nothing. Lights are nothing. Music is nothing.
Only Christ matters. He is the only reason that you can be on any sort of journey with God, that you can have anything at all to do with God. Only Jesus matters.

Hold on to that. Even if your little girl had not survived. But she did, praise Jesus!
One time I told someone in hard times, “Just hang in there.” But she corrected me, “I’m not just hanging in there. I’m trying to hang on to Jesus.”
So, please, just keep hanging on to Jesus.
Sometimes, when things are going well, we might too easily forget that we have only one sure, immovable, dependable strengthJesus, who was a baby once and is always and forever God. That is what holds us and keeps us whether or not we can carry out our traditions. May our decorations, gifts, and festivitiesor lack of themnever block our view of him but always point us toward him.

Perhaps the following questions can help us prepare for [next]Christmas.
Am I my Father’s child? Do I resemble him in my generosity?
• Am I focusing on God’s gift so that my appreciation to him grows?
• Can others see why I am celebrating?
• Am I celebrating Christ?"

*emphasis & edits added by me.

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