Remember when you were a kid at Christmastime? The anticipation almost making you lose your mind?? (Sorry, Mom and Dad. I’m sure I made YOU lose your minds with all of my hyper-excitement!)
You counted down the days and couldn’t wait until Christmas morning. The expectation was so great that you couldn’t fall asleep, eventually tossing and turning in a panic that Santa would show up right in the half-moment you were awake and skip over your house. (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for that anxiety-producing threat.)
Visions of sugar plums and bikes and new dolls filled your head as you excitedly anticipated the blessed Christmas morn.
When did we lose that?
At some point Christmas traded in its wonder and magic for lists and tasks. It became a finish line. A pat on the back for a job well-done. A medal for survival.
And the moment - the real, life-changing experience of worshiping and delighting in hope - gets skipped, pushed, or ignored.
And then it's December 26th.
I think I lost the Christmas wonder when I became a parent. Suddenly, Christmas became a lot of WORK. So much planning and saving and errand-running and endless tasks, lists, and chores and not much fun.
But, if I’m honest, maybe I lost my wonder before that. Maybe I became calloused and stopped letting myself get carried away in the spirit of Christmas years ago.
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." Luke 2:15
The shepherds couldn’t contain their excitement. They couldn’t wait until morning or the next day or next week. There was nothing stopping them in their search for the King. In their search to see fulfilled all that had been spoken to them.
They had jobs. They had families. They were adults with responsibilities.
They weren’t rich. They weren’t powerful. They weren’t any different than you or me.
But, they were filled with wonder. Grown men giddy with excitement. Bearded shepherds transformed into silly school girls jumping at the chance to see a miracle. Baffled at their fortunate calling to welcome the Messiah.
There was no hesitation. No playing it cool. Nothing holding back their fascination.
So, they went.
It says, “they hurried.” They couldn’t wait.
It reminds me of the backseat pleas coming from our station wagon on Christmas Eve over 35 years ago as my siblings and I begged our parents to drive faster to get home. Hurry, Daddy, hurry!
I tried to jump into the shepherds’ story today. I put myself in their shoes with hopes of feeling their excitement.
Looking for a sense of wonder I lost somewhere along the line.
And I began smiling. I started looking ahead to Sunday. A countdown kicked off in my heart.
I want to be as excited about Christmas as my kids. I'm going to abandon all sense of adult responsibility or roles in order to let my mind be blown that over 2,000 years ago God loved me so much He came to save me. The rescue effort began and like a captive, I’m shouting for joy.
Naturally, in my calloused, cynical adult manner, I’m tempted to withhold my excitement. Fear of disappointment wants to step in and throw a wet blanket on my hopes. Fear of people tempts me to dial it down and keep it check.
But, then I take another look at the shepherds.
The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Luke 2:20
No wet blankets or dialing it down there. How could they? Their minds had been blown by God’s goodness and light. They walked away changed people, unable to do anything except glorify and praise God.
I want to be changed by Christmas. I want to be caught up in wonder and left with nothing but praise.
So, let go, friends. Let go of whatever keeps you from wonder.
And let's go. Let’s go to Bethlehem this week. Come, let us adore Him.
Let our hearts be filled with LIGHT.
Don’t hold back. Don’t be a grown up. It’s Christmas time and it’s time to remember and relive all the excitement that is ours today and every day.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.