Remembering The Reason For The Season

 In Tori Smith

The other evening when I returned home from a meeting at Hope, I saw what happened while I was gone! Though the kids had been asking when we could decorate for Christmas, I was greeted by a living room that looked more like Wyatt’s bedroom than anything resembling Christmas decorations. Things were strewn on every piece of furniture. Pencils, markers and colored pencils were on the floor. Mugs once holding hot coco, prepared after their baths, now sat on end tables cold and half empty. Blankets, yes I said blankets – more than one were thrown here and there. Ahhhh, yes I was home! But it wasn’t looking like Christmas, it wasn’t even beginning to look like Christmas.

In a utopian version of Christmas, I would have stepped into a perfectly ordered home. My senses would be greeted by colorful lights, candle glow, the smell of cookies baking, beautiful Christmas music, and the sight of cherished ornaments from those I love adorning a perfectly decorated Christmas tree!
But I don’t live in Utopia. With a new puppy in our home, the most spoken words in my home this year are not Christmas blessings, but “NO BITE!!” And, because this same 4-month-old puppy and our kitten occupy their time playing a good game of tag, our cherished ornaments will remain safely in their storage tubs to be treasured another year. The smells of any cookies we bake don’t linger long because our 11-year-old thinks any cookies we bake need to be shared with the neighbors! And because our 16-year-old is just as likely to step over the stray blanket on the floor than to pick it up, that perfectly ordered home will be traded for that “lived-in” look. But all of that is truly insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

We are in a season where the marketing community seems to set the bar for what it means to have a Merry Christmas. I don’t remember which one, but one TV channel has been playing nothing but Christmas movies since Halloween. I don’t watch many of them, but the ones I’ve seen – except for Alvin and the Chipmunks – feature perfect Christmas trees and professional looking decorations.

For those who are able to achieve this, I applaud you! I know your homes are beautiful! But let’s all be reminded – Christmas is not about achieving the bar the marketing community has set. It’s about remembering the Holy One who came to accomplish the plan of God for the salvation of His creation.
In our Thanksgiving Sunday message we learned from our Cuban friends that Santos means Holy. We are in a Santos – a Holy – season! And because we experience this Holy Season, we can live in a Holy Season all year long BECAUSE Jesus Christ brought with Him the Kingdom of God. When we look to the Lord we are living in His kingdom. When we are molding our lives to the pattern of His, we are living in the Kingdom of God. When we love and forgive as Christ loves and forgives us, we are living in a Holy Season within the Kingdom of God. For me, this must be our focus not just this year, but every year. The constant reminder that I am living in the Kingdom of God needs to be forever before me, because I forget. I can find myself focused only on the untidiness of the blankets, the cold cups of coco and the markers and pencils. I forget that I’m to live a Holy life of love and grace. So maybe for a few minutes I tolerate the kids’ mess so they can know the joy of the Lord and learn how important it is to live Santos lives! And maybe, at the end of the day, that’s what truly makes a home full of Christmas utopia.

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