So this turns out to be the tenderest relief in a wild season: There are just SIX Mondays from now and Christmas Eve.
And when the holidays hit in a year like this? We’re all choosing holy days more than hyped-up days.
“Holy days — over hyped-up holidays. Falling in love — over falling in debt. Wonder — over worry.”
When the holidays hit this year, we’re all not choosing to fall more in debt because of consumerism, but we’re choosing to fall more in love because of Christ.
When the holidays hit this year, we’re all not going to be hit by all the worry — we’re choosing to be hushed by all His wonder.
Holy days — over hyped-up holidays. Falling in love — over falling in debt. Wonder — over worry.
The wonders of His love are everywhere — if you are in love with the wonder of Him. This is how the brilliant live.
So when she opens it up, I stop everything, and kneel right down.
“Look, Mama!” She laughs like a shower of stars.
Our baby girl’s eyes are saucers — awed.
I’m lit by her brazen wonder, her unabashed enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm always blazes in the best kind of life — because enthusiasm is about “entheos” — which literally means “God within.”
She holds this book wide open with contagious, igniting enthusiasm — God’s within, God’s within.
When the holidays hit this year, we choose wonder — because wonder is one step toward choosing a wonderful life.
“Nothing wonderful happens in our lives without wonder. Wonder makes this a wonderful life. Wonder nurtures wisdom.”
Nothing wonderful happens in our lives without wonder. Wonder makes this a wonderful life. Wonder nurtures wisdom.
If the next generation is to have any wisdom, then our generation must choose wonder now.
Wonder over grace and mercy and the ways of Jesus, because we have never needed His ways more than now.
And I grin, witnessing her fascination over that rising tree. Because the legacy we’ve got to leave, to centre the next generation, is the knowing that at the centre of our Garden Beginning, and His Christmas Coming, and our Calvary Saving, there always stands a tree that roots them forever and sets them free for eternity.
And nothing stands firmly anywhere, unless it’s rooted in the very beginning and the tree of Calvary, and the wonder that we’re grafted into the family tree of God.
She leans over the open book, her little fingers groping along the edges of the Advent flaps, one by one — wide-eyed, wonder seeking.
God’s within. God’s within.
This Christmas, the nations, and our generation, and the next generation, are ultimately seeking, not more plastic, not more pixels, not more products — we are seeking, whether we know it or not, more of the presence of Jesus — the Greatest Gift.
Behind one of the 25 Advent flaps, she finds an ornament — a tree stump with reaching green shoots — to hang on her risen tree.
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots…. In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a banner to the peoples; Him shall the nations seek…”
Him shall the nations, and the next generation, seek.
She’s turning the more the pages of that little accompanying devotional booklet, that tells story after story from the Greatest Story ever told, from Creation to the Creche — of how nothing ever has stopped His love from coming for us.
“Nothing is worthwhile compared to this—searching Scripture…seeking the truth of God’s Word,” Elie Wiesel once said.
For the nations— and the next generation — to seek Him — this generation can seek nothing less.
“This is the year — we give our people the gift of our story — so they know the story — their story —their family tree.”
And our little girl, she sits in the thickening gold light and keeps hanging the ornaments, one after another, and that’s what her tree is telling: the grandest Gospel story, from the Beginning to Bethlehem!
And I nod, knowing— this is the year.
This is the year to forget whatever the bombardment of ads keep trying to pummel us all into believing.
This is the year to give the wonder of living, in the land of the living.
Forget burying our kids in more plastic trinkets, forget piling the debt and a culture of death on them, forget giving them what cannot last.
Nothing is more important than leaving to the next generation wondrous living, and nothing is more at risk. Just turn on the news.
“When we reclaim the wonder of Christmas — we reclaim the wonder of living.”
The legacy we, the people, want to leave to our children, the next generation, is the wonder of dwelling in the land of the living, a land where our roots are nourished in the truth of miracle of Whose we are, and the shattering grace of where we come from, and the astonishing hope of who we’re meant to be.
This is the year — we give our people the gift of our story — so they know the story — their story —their family tree. Right from our genesis beginning to our King’s coming under Bethlehem’s star — this is our story.
And I lean in and kiss the of my baby girl’s head. She will know who she is, Whose she is and she will know her story.
This story is our inheritance — The Greatest Story ever told. And we will claim our inheritance.
When we reclaim the wonder of Christmas — we reclaim the wonder of living.
The wonder of living in the land of the real, wondrous living. We could get to live a wonderful life.
Our baby girl grins a whole world wide as she turns back the 25th flap and pulls out that star.
She’s bursting, tangible joy as she leans in to places that glowing atop her own tree, her own crowning, Christ-formed story.
“The way to get our Christmas MOJO back — is More Of Jesus Only.”
This is the year: The way to get our Christmas MOJO back — is More Of Jesus Only.
Christmas is about: JOMO for MOJO — the Joy Of Missing Out (on all the pressure!) — for More Of Jesus Only (all of His presence!)
#JOMO for #MOJO. JoyOfMissingOut …. for … MoreOfJesusOnly
When she smiles over at me, I blink it back — she’s holding her own story — and the Wonder of the Greatest Gift.And it’s hers –He’s ours. All of ours.
And there’s all this golden light flooding the place, lighting up her very own tree — the Tree for all of us.
All this wonder that all those living too long in the shadows — can now feel a great light dawning.
The enthusiasm! the wonder!
God within. God within.
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