“The Lord Your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”—Zephaniah 3:17
As I have packed up boxes and bags and memories of another Christmas this year, I have been reflecting on it. As a sketcher, I decided to sketch my process…. you can see my link here: https://heatherhultgren.com/2020/01/05/packing-up-christmas/ .
In the link, I visually share things I packed away, all the way from the decorations and ornaments to the Christmas tree, which comes in 3 pieces and is stuffed into a large box and exiled back into a basement corner. My last sketch in the series is of an empty corner where the tree once stood, a bare and sterile-looking place, absent of twinkling lights and presents under the tree. A brown leather chair and red pillow are some of its new occupants.
As I have packed up Christmas, I was reflecting on how we sometimes pack up Jesus with the holidays as well. The hustle, bustle, excitement, and rush of the holidays are over. And in its place is a complacent stumbling “back to reality”, a shaking off of celebration and joy. Will we find ourselves in an empty corner devoid of lights and life once again?
It is easy to launch into the new year with our to-do lists, our resolutions to change, our hopes and fears for 2020. Does Jesus come with us? Is He part of our daily life-equation, or a remnant of “feel-good” emotions as we sung “O Holy Night” with candlelight and close kin beside us? Is Jesus relegated to the basement of our hearts, where we package Him up, only to pull Him out with excitement December 24, 2020?
Thankfully, Jesus is a God who is “Emmanuel”, God-With-Us. He walks with us daily through life’s trials and triumphs, the happy and sad moments, and everything in between. He enters in the messy dingy basements of our hearts, dusting off stuff we need to let go, bringing His light and glory into the darkest corners of our lives. We can’t pack Him away with the Christmas tree and ornaments. He’s here to stay!
May our hearts and lives reflect His shining glory this year, so that others may see the Light who is our hope, our joy, and our love.
Prayer– “Jesus, you promise to be with us always, despite the time we try to pack you away. Open our hearts to receive your light and promise. In your name, Amen.”