We had run into Target for a birthday card and gallon of milk. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving and I was determined to get in and out quickly to avoid the chaos of Christmas shopping. I attempted to swiftly maneuver my cart past the toy section, weaving through throngs of shoppers. My 4-year old daughter, who recognized the red bullseye logo by age 2, had accompanied me on too many Target trips to fall for my trick.
“Mom, let’s look at the toys,” she pleaded, eyeing a rack of glittery pink and purple costume dresses. She was enthralled by the shimmer and shine and who could blame her. The dress-up aisle was a 4-year old’s dream.
“Can I have this for Christmas?,” she begged, touching the shiny fabric between her tiny fingers. “This would be the best gift ever. I promise I won’t ask for anything else.”
In that moment, I thought about my own life and how often I believe the same thing. I think if I could just have that car, or that house or that outfit – then, I’ll be content. It’s so easy for me to pin contentment on something external, forgetting that when I live by that formula, I’m always left wanting. Some days, God seems less tangible than the people and things I surround myself with.
But, this Christmas season, God has been reminding me that He is present in the here and now. Jesus in flesh lived and breathed and laughed here on Earth, walking the very same roads that still exist today.
The same God who threw sparkly stars across the black canvas of night, took on humanity in a dark, dirty manger under the Star of Bethlehem. The same God who holds the earth in the palm of His hand broke through the heavens to live and breathe as we do – to hold our heart in His hands and sing joy over us.
Heartache was shattered in that moment, as a little baby freed us from ourselves. This, this is the gift our hearts ache for and in our longing this season may we not miss the offer He extends to us right now. Come, He says. Come and find yourself in me.
After gifts are exchanged and wrapping paper tossed aside, if we look, we just may stumble across the greatest gift of all.
This Christmas season, may you remember the depth of God’s love poured out over you through the life of a tiny baby.
This Christmas season, may you walk in the joy of being cherished by the God of the universe who went to the ends of the earth to welcome you into his family.
This Christmas season, may we celebrate that in Jesus’ upside-down kingdom the first are last, the out are in and no one is observing the celebration from afar.