So I’ll admit it. I have been feeling a little down this Christmas. It might be an extension of the funk that has been coming in waves on and off since this summer.
Or maybe I just have the holiday version of bored housewife syndrome. My kids are wonderful, my marriage is not only functional but pretty happy as well. The bills are getting paid.
But I feel like I have missed Jesus somewhere along the way.
I’m not sure how or why, really. I have had Christmas Carols playing since before Thanksgiving. I made sure to check materialism at the door and avoid the mall. We have been charitable. We have done advent readings with the kids (okay fine I stopped after day 4).
What have I done wrong. Why am I missing Jesus?
I was overcome a couple of days ago with a yearning to find Him. I know all kinds of actions can be worship if my heart is set on glorifying God – so maybe that was my problem this year; I simply didn’t love God enough in the hanging of the stockings and lighting of the lights and writing of the checks.
Maybe He is in that empty building where the Salvation Army has set up camp along my morning running route? I have wanted to peek inside and spend time with the people there, hoping to meet Jesus.
Maybe He is in the quiet at 5:30 a.m., waiting to give me some peace while my son eats his oatmeal, when I would rather get going on ‘my day’ instead of sitting with Him.
Maybe He is in my children’s eyes, even though they don’t quite get you Sweet Baby Jesus, but they have faith and hope and need nonetheless. I haven’t been looking very closely, I’ve been so set on making sure we get through the bible reading and keeping little hands away from the ornaments and running errands.
Maybe He is back in Illinois, and I will miss Him completely this year.
Maybe, as one of my advent devotionals alluded to, He is in Christmas Rejoicing and I have missed Him in exchange for Christmas Frollicking.
And I feel the need to search for him now. Secretly and urgently– like the Three Magi right under Herod’s nose, like the shameful bleeding woman in the crowd, like the sinful Zacchaues, ridiculous but desperate up in that Sycamore tree.
Jon, after recognizing this hungry look in my eyes, sent me to Starbucks.
And maybe He is here in the men reading newspapers and baristas being cheerful and red and gold decorations and words being typed on my computer.
I sure hope so.
BECAUSE CHRISTMAS IS FIVE DAYS AWAY AND WHAT IF I MISS HIM???
What if I miss Christmas Joy?
Is it okay that I am a little flat and a little cynical and a little down this Christmas?
I hope so.
Because, what of my next door neighbor who has been lonely since her husband passed away seven years ago?
What of my friends who said good bye to their 5 month old baby girl last week?
What of those who are cold and on the streets this winter, standing in line outside the Salvation Army on my running route?
Is it okay for them? Will they miss Jesus, too?
Or is there joy somewhere out there for them?
Is there joy for the bored housewife? Is there joy for the grieving parents? Is there joy for my children who no matter how much I push Jesus on them, they are way more excited about a fictional Santa?
There are only five days left, after all. We better find Jesus quick. Hurry up Joy.
I guess in all my Christmas longing I have experienced true Advent.
Waiting, hoping, yearning, needing, searching, longing.
If we miss Sweet Baby Jesus this year, there is hope for me, for us in Advent. In his continual end eventual coming. His dwelling among us is magnified in December but it doesn’t end on the 26th.
The Divine meeting, becoming, the Dust of the Earth that happened in the manger on that cold, dark Bethlehem night happens again when the Divine touches the eyes of the blind man. And again, when the Divine lets a woman wipe his feet with tears. When the Divine allows a doubting Thomas to touch his wounds. When the Divine is poured out at Pentacost and in many Holy Moments since then among His Church.
I may need to slow down. I may need to visit the Salvation Army. I may need to rise at 5am.
But I need not fear missing Jesus.
He is not a season.
He is not temporary. His love goes on and on. His Spirit is eternal.
I cannot for the life of me muster up joy for a Holiday, the ornaments and peppermint mochas are just not gettin’ the job done this year.
And December might just come and go without a ton of warm fuzzies.
And that is okay.
Because Jesus will be there on the other end. Always.
Sweet Baby Jesus. Grown up Jesus. Crucified Jesus. Resurrected Jesus. King Jesus.
Poor-loving, woman-honoring, sick-healing, dead-raising, truth-telling, life-giving, Jesus will be there.