This week, I’ve been reflecting on thoughts prompted by our family’s readings from A Jesus Christmas, an advent devotional guide many Kossuth families are using to help us celebrate Jesus this Christmas. If you are one of those families, this post will be a reminder of something you’ve already read this week! If you are not familiar with A Jesus Christmas, I hope this post gives you a brief glimpse into the generational discipleship taking place as Kossuth families read God’s word together at home.
This Tuesday’s Bible reading was Mary’s song in Luke 1:46-55:
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
In her song, Mary rejoices that God has done great things for her. She acknowledges that this was not because of anything she had done but because of who God is—and so she rejoices in God as merciful and mighty, gracious to those who depend on him, and faithful to his promises.
An excerpt from A Jesus Christmas:
Christmas was really close! How amazing! God gave Mary the gift
of being the Rescuer’s mother. Her heart cried out, “My soul glorifies
the Lord.” Now Mary knew why she was alive—to love God, enjoy him,
and live for him. All her dreams were too small compared to this.
Nothing in life could make her as happy as God.
The serpent’s lie says, “Your life is all about you.” The truth is that
God made us to love him and live forhim. Our lives will never be
right until we live for him. When we try to live for ourselves, it’s
like trying to put shoes on our hands! It doesn’t work. Shoes were
made for feet. You were made for God. Life with God is truly happy.
Christmas tells us that Jesus gives us big dreams. Our dreams are
too small compared to God’s purpose for our life. “No human
mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who
love him!” (1 Corinthians 2 v 9). We are alive to bring praise to Jesus.
As I’ve been anticipating Christmas this month, my thoughts have been drawn to all the ways try to find purpose and fulfillment apart from Jesus. I say I want “A Jesus Christmas,” but I so easily slip into chasing “a family Christmas,” or “a memorable Christmas,” or “a fun Christmas.” Please don’t misunderstand me: none of those aspects of Christmas are bad! In fact, they are all quite good. But the desire for a good thing can quickly become the demand for an ultimate thing, something I think I must have and begin to want more than anything else.
I can tell my heart has started down this “slippery slope” when I get angry over a disappointment or an unmet expectation. And in that moment, I’ve turned one of God’s good gifts into an idol that crowds out Jesus, his greatest Gift. I’ve made life (and Christmas) about me and what I want instead of about Jesus and what he wants.
It’s so easy to believe the lie that my life is all about me. I’m thankful for the reminder of the truth this week from A Jesus Christmas: that God made me for himself, and I will only be truly happy when I know him, love him, and live for him. No other kind of Christmas offers as much joy as a Jesus Christmas!