By now, there’s a good chance your Christmas tree has been taken down and all the pine needles vacuumed up, if you had chosen to go for the real thing. All the lights have been unplugged and put away neatly (so as not to find them tangled) for next year. There are no longer signs of wrapping paper, but presents have been put in their proper places or returned for something you like better.
Unless, of course, you’re like those people on my street who store their decorations in their front yard all year long. Apparently, Frosty doesn’t mind our humid summers as much as we were led to believe.
We don’t ever want to see another Christmas cookie or sing another carol. Okay, just give us about 10 months and we’ll be ready for another frosted angel cut-out cookie and singing along to “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” in the Target checkout line. For now, though, we are already on to the next thing. It is a NEW year after all, and we have resolutions, and goals and plans!
Although if you’re anything like me, many of those things have already fallen by the wayside. Let’s be honest: After the first week in January, every gym and fitness center is laughing, looking at their early profits for the year. They know 75 percent of the people who bought a yearlong membership won’t be returning next week.
We’ve started diets. Created a reading list for the year. Mapped out our projected achievements for our careers, businesses or side hustles. We tell ourselves this year will be different. We will pray more. Fast more. Read our Bibles more. We’ll stop shaking our fists at idiot drivers and volunteer at the local soup kitchen.
All of those things are well and good. I hope you accomplish everything you plan on doing this year, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I want to go back to Christmas.
Since being a little girl, I haven’t enjoyed Christmas. The season ushers in too many painful memories. I am able to suppress the memories most of the year, but have a harder time containing them and the emotions that come with them during the holidays. This year, I decided to do something about it.
I’ve been a Christian for most of my life, but never took the time to celebrate the season of Advent. I did a quick search on Pinterest and found a free Advent activity printable that gave me a verse to read and meditate on daily. Each day’s reading was only a verse or two long, making it a quick and easy read. Even though the verses were short in length, there always seemed to be a word or phrase that would stand out.
“Notice this, Holly,” the Lord would tell me.
I’d linger there and glean some truth from a passage I had sped by numerous times before. This 2,000-year-old story held something in it for me—a personal encouragement to remind me of something I had forgotten, or a glimmer of hope when I had thought it had been lost.
My purpose in doing this activity was to get my focus back on Jesus. For far too long, it had been on my brokenness. On my disappointments. On my griefs. Now, I was doing my best to intentionally change my perspective.
It’s easy to check Christmas off our lists and move on, but I feel like God may be asking us to use this fresh start to realign our vision to His once again. To not be so quick to forget that Jesus should be the center of our attention from January 1 through December 31. He isn’t just a reason for a season, a holiday off from work or a day to be with your family.
Jesus is our every day. So, if you want 2015 to be more monumental, more epic, more productive than any other year, may I suggest focusing it on Him. Don’t let Him be just another resolution on your list, but be intentional about enjoying Him more. It may mean slowing down, turning off a distraction or taking something else off your list, but I promise you it’s worth it.
He’s not only worth it, but also deserves that place in your life. To be your beginning AND your end.