Planning for Christmas

Some advice that I always give around Christmas time is: “Don’t let Christmas surprise you this year.”  What I mean by this is don’t let your credit card bill sneak up on you in January so that you are surprised by the cost of Christmas.  Hopefully, that piece of advice will help you as you plan for your Christmas spending.

When thinking about this advice, the idea of surprise caught my attention. We’ve been in a surprising time this year as a culture and as a world.  I would imagine that none of you anticipated the roller coaster ride that we’ve all been on this year.  If you are anything like me, you are hopeful that 2016 will be a year of fewer difficult surprises and more stability.

However, as I thought about the idea of being surprised by Christmas, I realized that my desire for you this year is that you WILL be surprised by Christmas.  C.S. Lewis wrote a book entitled, Surprised by Joy.  A quote from that book is worth pondering: “All joy…emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.”

Jesus came to our planet as a pilgrim.  He entered our world and gave up glory so that He could know what fear feels like in our stomach, what tears taste like in our mouth, and what joy does for a weary soul.

When we come into relationship with Him, we transfer our citizenship to heaven and we become pilgrims on this planet as well.  We become those who have “eternity in our hearts” and, as Lewis says, we are beckoned and reminded by the Holy Spirit so that we desire more…we desire eternity.

This year at Christmas, there may be financial empty spaces for you.  There may be a cutting back or a letting go of materialism.  My prayer is that you’d find that those spaces are filled with a surprising longing for eternity.  I pray that you are beckoned to depend on God’s provision and grace and that, as you are beckoned, you are surprised by the joy of desiring Him more.

In 2015…

…May your best “havings” be your “wantings” for what Jesus Christ offers us as believers.

…May your spiritual desires be heightened as your material desires are denied.

…May your dusty pilgrim feet be washed and renewed by the beauty of the season.

…May you be surprised by a new kind of joy.