There is definitely a place for remembering, especially at holidays. Sometimes it’s part of honoring and sometimes it’s part of healing. And there is nothing wrong with happy feelings. God made us to have feelings, after all, and when things are right, it can feel like a hot cup of cocoa for the soul.
But there’s a kind of sentimentality – especially at Christmas – that can get in the way of deeper, richer joy.
So much of our emotional energy and focus during this season can go into the ‘appetizers’ of heaven, that we can forget the Real Thing. For example, we may research, save, fight the lines, all so that we can get the ‘perfect’ gift for someone. Or we may work hard to get the right people at the right place at the right time doing the right traditions or else it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. Are gifts and home and loved ones bad? No, but the best they can do is point us to the real Source… that is, they are meant to increase our longing for the companionship and satisfaction and wealth that God has made available at His side through Christ. The more we get to know Him, the more we see that He is the best family and the best gift.
This is unexpected good news. For those of us who would probably be relatively happy during this season with earthly comforts, it frees us from the tyranny of the sentimental. We don’t have to ‘feel’ a certain way to really experience Christmas. We are free to look through and past God’s gifts to God Himself. And it’s also good news for those who find it hard to be happy during Christmas. Even when we don’t have the loved ones or the things or any other earthly comfort, our ultimate hope is not at stake.
Here is a Christmas carol that helps us remember this…
O Holy Night / Santa la Noche
This song captures key parts of the great story of redemption that God is writing. Creation… the Fall… Redemption… Consummation.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
For so very long we were without hope in our sin and our lies, longing (‘pining’) for Him to come.
Hoy Emmanuel es “Dios ya con nosotros”
But the eternal God became a human! Near… touchable… with blood and nerves and tears.
Chains shall He break… and in His name all oppression shall cease
And one Day He will return to finish what He started… the redemption of His people and of creation.
There is no Christmas-release movie, no updated model [of whatever device we want], and no special person that compares to the solid joys and lasting pleasures at God’s side in the grand narrative that He is writing us into.
How about you?
What feeling are you most hoping to have during Christmas?
How can you instead look to Christ and His character and rescuing work on your behalf for satisfaction?