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What if you could rethink how you Christmas?

12.09.19 | Inspirational | by Hannah Buchanan

What if you could rethink how you Christmas?

    Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what has to get done that I forget no present is as important as presence. 

    I like lists. I like to check things off my lists even more.

    This is a picture of the to-do list I scratched on our kitchen whiteboard Saturday morning.

    Before going to bed on Sunday night, I stepped back from the list to evaluate all I had accomplished in less than 48 hours. Do you know what was still sitting there, uncrossed? Do you know what I had not done? 

    I did not create quiet time — space to slow down and read God’s Word, space to pray and reflect. Important detail: I preached all about how important that is just the other week!

    For weeks, my team has been creating, planning, and preaching sermons under this title: Undeck the Halls — Rethink how you Christmas. 

    And it occurs to me that I didn’t stop to consider how I would rethink my own.

    So here it is. 

    This Christmas, I will:

    • Let go of needing lights on my roof.
    • Be okay if I don’t have a personalized stocking for my six-month-old.
    • Put my phone down to pay attention to the people I am with because God is with us.

    This last one is a kicker for me. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what has to get done that I forget no present is as important as presence. 

    When Jesus walked from town to town, picking up disciples, he didn’t say, “Go do this. Fix this. Get this for me.” Most of the time, what he said was, “Follow me.” That translates: Be with me. Spend time with me. Be present with me. 

    That invitation is as much for me now as it was for Peter and Andrew and Matthew way back then. When we follow him — when we travel near him and we are with Jesus — that’s when the real adventure starts. 

    I’ve been reading Romans 12 with a group of women from the church for a few months now. In the first few minutes of Bible study today, a bunch of us were chatting about how overwhelmed and scattered we felt. Scattered. Then, when we opened the chapter, one line caught my attention:

    Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. (Romans 12:1-2, MSG) 

    Fix your attention on God. Zoom in. Focus. (It’s basically the opposite of being scattered.)

    Isn’t that what happened at the manger all those years ago? The shepherds, the wise men. Mary and Joseph. They fixed their attention on God, on the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. 

    And all the other people? The innkeeper, the townspeople, those who aren’t even named? What were they doing? Were they setting the table? Doing dishes? Busy at work? Those are all good things, but they missed Jesus! 

    Maybe that’s how I will undeck the halls this year. By fixing my attention on God — and letting everything else fall into place. At least I won’t miss what matters most. 

    What about you? How will you rethink Christmas this year?

    Undeck the Halls

    Put up the Christmas tree? Check. Decorate the house? Check. Open your gifts? Check.

    During the holidays, if we aren’t careful, we can simply go through the motions without even blinking.

    This year, let’s rethink how we Christmas, challenge what we do and why we do it, and decide to be fully present.

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