Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Looking for Christmas

Christmas is coming way too quickly and we are going through the motions doing all the same actitivies we do every year to get ready. I'm enjoying them all! But I notice with each thing we do, we try to capture that essence of Christmas--something fulfilling, nostalgic, meaningful. Deep in our hearts is a wistful longing for the excitement and magic we experienced as a child. Or if not that, then something we can't name, something elusive, something we can't quite grasp.

Fred and the girls and I have been shopping at the mall and had a fun time trying to hide gifts from each other and not give away secrets. We went to the tree farm on the coldest, windiest day of the season (again!) and froze as we rode out to the fields in a hay wagon driven by two big horses. We cut the most beautiful tree we've ever had. It is 7 feet tall, full and lush. Fred placed thousands of lights on it and the girls hung our ornaments, each one attached to a memory.

My friend had a ladies' Christmas party in her 180-year-old country home, fully adorned in Christmas finery. We snacked and talked and sang carols, and listened to a dramatization of Jesus' birth. On Sunday we attended the concert at our church and heard a full orchestra and choir presenting glorious music. If you can't find Christmas there, where would you? We're building traditions and the girls are forming their own warm and fuzzy feelings about the season.

It struck me that when I'm looking for Christmas, I'm really looking for Jesus--a touch, a word, a connection to Him. It's His birthday, after all. He is not elusive. He's at the mall and the farm, in our homes and churches. He is in our hearts. Maybe I need to just stop and talk to Him, slow down and listen for His voice.

Why do we love the trappings of Christmas? Our huge tree reminds me of life, the rich full life God has given me here on earth and the hope of eternal life. I love the tiny, twinkling lights on the tree. They shine like the stars forever and ever. I love to sing the old carols. We'll one day join choirs of angels singing praises to God. We so enjoy giving gifts to our children, just as God loved us so much that He gave us His son.

All these things are glimpses of what can't be fully realized now. They are a hint of the future, the promise of what is to come. We cling to our little earthly traditions and long for heaven.

At the concert we heard a beautiful song that was unfamiliar to me. I found the words on the web, but could not find any site to post here so you could hear it. It's called, "All the World Was Waiting." I don't know who wrote it. If you find it, let me know. I want to hear it again.

All the world was waiting, for the promised One,
Prophets through the ages claimed that He would come,
Would He be a warrior, or a conquering King?
Could he be the one who'd save us from our sin and suffering?

All the world was waiting on the night that you were born,
God of life eternal, in a fragile form,
Shepherds gathered closer, gazing at your face,
Wondering how this helpless child could save a fallen human race.

All the world was waiting, as you became a man,
Truth was in your teaching, healing in your hand,
Though your heart was sinless, you laid down your life,
To pay the debt that only perfect love could satisfy.

Now the world is waiting, for another day,
When your Sovereign hand will turn the final page,
And all will be accomplished, our trials and tears will end,
And those who've longed to see you will never wait again.

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