Okay—let’s talk Christmas shopping. It’s fun! Well it can be. It’s a time when the Christmas spirit kicks in. It can be a little chaotic and momentarily stressful. Truthfully, it can feel more like a hunt, on the search for gifts that feel like they hit the target, and don’t get me started on lines at Target! For me, it’s all of the above, but while slowly (and I do mean slowly) making my way through a department store checkout line yesterday, I started having some deeper than usual thoughts about this time of year. Deeper than usual for typical thoughts you would have in a long department store checkout line.
First, I am such a sucker for a good playlist in a store. If the background music is pretty good, I’m totally going to shop a while, and if it’s not good, or worse yet if it is down right annoying, I am in and I am out.
But one of the deep thoughts I had was while I was listening to the lyrics of so many of the older classic Christmas songs that people have sung for years. How awesome is it that the world makes all these statements of faith about God, and how great He is during Christmas time? Think about it: even while the culture wars rage on, and the “war on Christmas” finds new battle fronts, we all still march from store to store, restaurant to restaurant, singing the same songs and declaring the coming of Jesus. God, you are so smart!
After this hit me, I have so enjoyed listening and watching people hum these songs in public. “Joy to the world the Lord has come, let earth receive her King!” On the inside I am screaming, Yessss!!! “…Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinner reconciled. Joyful all ye nations rise; join the triumph of the skies.” There it is hidden in plain sight and confessed by people everywhere. No doubt about it, Christmas is a powerful time of year.
So much has transpired in our world in the last year. So much has happened in each of our lives, and coming up right around the corner is the promise of a new year with all the anticipation of what the new year will bring. So somewhere on this deep train of thought while standing in line, the song “Breath of Heaven” came on by Amy Grant (don’t even get me started; she’s amazing), and I started thinking about the famous story of Mary.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been eclipsed by that verse that says, “…And Mary hid these things in her heart.” I think everyone who’s more of a private person about what’s important to them, an introvert by nature, or even an extrovert/introvert like me (yeah apparently that’s a thing?) can so relate to that verse because it’s what we do. Special things, valuable things, we hide in our heart. They aren’t our “go to” topics of conversation. In fact, we only pull them out to ourselves at certain quiet, contemplative times because they are too precious for even everyday internal commentary.
Mary was obviously this way. Though she no doubt had hope and dreams for her life, she wasn’t necessarily vision boarding about carrying the son of God some day. Can you imagine if Mary had a vision board, and it had stuff on it like:
- -Become mother of Son of God
- -Only woman ever to have virgin birth
- -See an angel
- -Become most famous mother in history
Sounds a little crazy I know. I have a vision board myself hanging in my office, and it’s pretty full with things that I have vision for, and even things that have already happened. But my point is that even in a time where digital life is becoming more of a platform for our everyday life, where vision boarding and talking vision is a more common and a well-used tool, I think there is a sacredness to some things God puts in our hearts that we should hold on to, and even keep there.
French theorist, Ernest Renan said, “The 20th century will spend a good deal of its time picking out of the trash can things which the 19th century threw into it.”
I think the same can be said for this 21st century. One of things being picked out is the idea that every thought you think you should say, every word from God you get you should share, and every dream you have you should tell. Not to mention, every moment you live you should post! What if we had a process for deciding what needed to be broadcast, and what needed to stay hidden and saturated in the chamber of our heart with the Holy Spirit developing it there?
This Christmas let there be room for what’s sacred, even if that’s just in your heart, and even in your family. Just because we can make a joke about everything doesn’t mean everything is okay to be joked about. Some things, valuable things, should always be held as sacred even in word.
Get quiet either with family or a few friends, and most definitely by yourself, pick one of those classic faith filled Christmas songs, and sing it with a quiet sacredness. There are things to be hidden in our heart from the Lord. There are answers to questions maybe about this past year, and why some things were the way they were, and why some things didn’t happen you thought maybe would.
There is a quiet place of peace waiting for you, and out of that stillness, no doubt, there will be a transpiring in you for this new year that awaits you. It brings with it the great things ahead that you will be invited to partner with God for. Look to Him, the Author and Finisher of your faith. Let Him finish out this year in your heart, and set you up for a new year that is just about to begin.
Know that you are loved and cared about. Merry Christmas,