Stop, not so fast, Christmas!
The quiet of the morning wants us to think the frenzy of this season is winding down. Children are almost home from school and will soon be sleeping late. The Christmas cards are at peak delivery. Mine will be a little late – as usual. The Christmas tree lots are becoming depleted and there are signs of clean-up and wrapping up another Christmas season – today a store manager was putting the holiday things on sale and bringing in the spring inventory. I find myself looking into my January calendar, working on events for February and even April.
But wait — I want this Christmas to linger. This peaceful watching and waiting and writing have done what Advent is supposed to do. Slow me down. And when I focus on “slow time” it suddenly fills me with quiet joy and wonder. I want this time to simply stand still and just behold this wonder…this experience. And I must ask myself if I can enter this home stretch to Christmas Day in s-l-o-w time and just be in Advent – one with God.
One with Jesus.
Maybe it is why we love the sheep so much in the Nativity. They don’t have a speaking or acting role. They just come, watch and wait for their shepherd to guide them, feed them and care for them. When I was young I got to hold a baby lamb in my arms and feed it from a bottle. The mother had rejected the lamb and it would have died had my father not known what to do. My sister and I got to care for that helpless lamb and it grew and became a pet that we nurtured and cared for and loved with all our hearts. Hearts that broke when “Lamby-Lou” grew up and left us.
Could it be that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, thinks of us as his pet? Has He nurtured us this Advent as we have waited and watched for his coming? Dependent? Helpless? Needy? Has he cared for and loved us with his heart so much that he has entered into our own hearts and we are one?
If we can answer “yes” then we have the greatest gift of Christmas.
As a child I sang a simple song:
Into My Heart, Into My Heart, Come into my heart Lord Jesus.
Come in today, Come in to stay, Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
You watch over me and you stay by my side. I have everything I need. Slow me down and come into my heart.
Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.