Today is the first Sunday of Advent and this is what I’m typically like this time of year:
But this year, I’m already so tired of Christmas. Wait. Let me clarify. I’m so tired of “Christmas”. I’m over the fake. The look-at-me-ness of it all. It just feels so empty.
Maybe it’s because I started listening to Christmas music too early. Maybe it’s because I walked into Target and it was NUTS. I mean, they have WAY TOO MANY DISPLAYS IN THE AISLES. I feel like they are shoving “gifts”, also known as garbage, down my throat. No. I do not want 12 bath bombs. SHUT IT DOWN TARGET.
Maybe it’s because it doesn’t feel like winter yet. But I don’t think that’s really it. Those all seem more like symptoms of some bigger issue. But I wasn’t able to put my finger on it, so I kept moving myself towards the holiday, feeling more like this:
In the midst of all these feels, my Christmas decorating came with some new rules this year.
- No mess – I have outlawed all glitter and evergreen shrubbery
- Unbreakable – I’ve stocked up on paper, felt, and plastic ornaments.
Basically I don’t want to have to vacuum everyday. I want to decorate it, and not have to worry about it. As I was telling a friend about my decorating goals, it hit me. The feeling of a hollow holiday and wanting something unbreakable go hand in hand.
Things in our world have been so heartbreaking lately. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of people using the ideas/words/imagery of my faith, of my Jesus, for their own personal gain. And it honestly makes me sick. Nothing seems real, or genuine. Even “Christmas” seems like junky garbage. It seems shallow. Fragile. Breakable.
But the truth of Christmas is not shallow or fragile. Our God is unshakable.
Hebrews 12:25-29 The Message (MSG)
25-27 So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.
28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!
This is my prayer for the Advent season. To hold tight to what is unshakable. To let God shake the junk out of my heart, leaving only room for Him. To worship Him as the “historical and religious junk” comes burning to the ground. The beauty of Christmas is that God Himself came to us, to do the work we are not able to do. He has shaken our way of life, so that we can move into His unshakable eternity!