I’ve read more blogs than I can count this past week about people not wanting to buy into the foolishness of American Christmas this year, you know — the mad rush of shopping, frantic cooking, Pinteresting, charging up credit cards for expensive technological gifts for our kids who already have enough.
One blog I read this week offered a great idea to avoid such seductive trappings that have nothing to do with the heart of Christmas — create an intention for Christmas!
I just love this simple suggestion that set me on new holiday course, putting a smile on my bah-humbug face.
My intention this Christmas season is this: I want to unwrap – to know — the heart of Jesus, to glimpse as much of Christ’s splendor as I can stand.
In the spirit of Christ, I seek to turn the capitalistic Christmas story upside down, like Jesus did the tables of those buying and selling, scamming you might say, in the temple courts. I want to discover beyond Santa and Rudolph and Dasher and Donner, and Christmas sale extravaganzas, the deeper, more true story, the story that captured and changed the hearts of the Scrooges and Grinches of the world through ages and throughout the globe. I yearn for the revelation of Christ’s mysteries – those Saint Paul said were hidden from ages and generations — that bulldozed through the centuries, creating a quiet, yeast-rising revolution that unraveled religion, empires, the status quo, and awakened people to a true, more compassionate life.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly!” John-10:10
Yes, my intention this Christmas season is to realize the flames of Christ in my heart, to know and cherish the life he offered at no cost.
I came across a quote by author and theologian Dallas Willard this week that blasted through my dull, yet yearning faith this Christmas season as I’ve been barraged by capitalistic Christmas ads on the radio, in store windows and about town. It’s profound message reached deep into my soul speaking volumes about the magnitude of Christ’s gifts to the world. Willard writes:
“Wouldn’t you like..a rich and unshakable life..one free from loneliness, fear and anxiety, filled with constant peace and joy? Wouldn’t you like to love your neighbor as yourself and be free of anger, envy, lust and covetousness? Wouldn’t you like to have inspiration and strength to lead a constant life of creative goodness? Wouldn’t you also like to have strength and understanding that enables you genuinely and naturally to bless those who are cursing you– or cheating you, beating you out of the job, spitting on you in a confrontation, laughing at your religion or culture…”
What better Christmas gift could we possibly ask for other than the heart of Christ that offers us a life of such peace, contentment, compassion, forgiveness and joy that surpasses all understanding? A Christmas diamond surely is a dull gift in comparison, don’t you say?
The omnipotent Jesus Christ– meaning all powerful — is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think. (Ephesians 3:14) In Greek, the word for powerful is dynamoo. Jesus then, the all powerful dynamoo, offers abundant life this Christmas. We only need to realize, to know the heart of the greatest hero who ever lived.
How uncanny, in Greek, hero means the one who serves.
“For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.“” – Mark 10:45
But for us, accepting the servant heart of Christ means submitting our will to God’s will. It means consecrating our lives to holiness, avoiding greed, coveting, anger and all sorts of things we humans do that make us, and one another unhappy. It means being forgiven, and forgiving those who offend us. And it means day in and day out searching beyond the capitalistic Christmas mentality for the heart of Christ.
Although the rich man in the New Testament might have seemed noble when he told Jesus he followed all of the commandments since he was a boy, Jesus in turn challenged him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor.”
Knowing the heart of Christ, means becoming as C.S. Lewis termed, ‘little Christs’. It means becoming Christ-like servants, giving to the Tiny Tims of the world — not only during Christmas season, but year-round.
Jesus radical, wild-flying, disruptive, and inconvenient teachings aim to perform root canal on our lives, shepherding us to the heart of truth, to servantship, and ultimately to divine peace.
Author Brennan Manning wrote in his book Furious Longing for God, “Jesus Christ has irreparably changed the world. When preached purely, His word exalts, frightens, shocks and forces us to reassess our whole life.”
It’s not easy to realize he did this out of love.
I was thinking today, if Jesus was walking throughout San Diego, teaching on hillsides wouldn’t I be captivated by this parable speaking man healing and performing miracles as he walked through the coastal towns near my home. Would I be following him like those did from Galilee, from DeCapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and the region across the Jordan?
Wouldn’t I sit down and rest a while on the hillside, listening to his unusual and wise words, as yearning stirred in my heart? What if he arrived during Christmas season? Would people pass him by on the way to the mall, assuming he was a madman, just as his brothers first thought?
I sure hope I’d follow him, what about you? After all, I’m not much for shallow talk, and I’ve always been captivated by those who breathe love into suffering, poverty and injustice. I long for such friends, don’t you, friends who help us find the missing pieces of the puzzles of our souls, the ones who help us glue parts of our missing selves together, reminding us to be shining lights for God, guiding us through troubled lives to live a life with meaning. And to pass it forward.
Yes, I want to know the heart of Jesus this Christmas. And in turn I want to share these divine gifts.
Maybe it’s offering someone forgiveness? A lot more kindness? A helping hand for someone in need? Inviting someone lonely or without a family for dinner? Loving God with all our hearts, minds and strength?
Or remembering a Tiny Tim?
Will you join me in creating your Christmas intention? Email me if you want me to make you your Christmas intention card, I’ll email it to you to print out!
WE LOVE YOUR COMMENTS!
For those who want some lovely ideas for giving actual gifts to people in need:
(People can donate their carriers to: Carry the Future 121 W. Lexington Dr. Suite L 106D Glendale, CA 91203)
Sharing this week at #SmallWonder and these lovely linkups!