Watching for the Light

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by Megan Johnson

I’m faced with a conundrum with writing the encouraging word for the newsletter this month. Being that it’s December, it should be Advent and Christmas themed, right? I should give you a list of great things to do, crafts to create, books to read, and ornaments to make with your kids to point you to Jesus, correct? Well, while I could do that, you have likely already checked Pinterest or scrolled Facebook and gotten more ideas than your brain can even remember and made a list for yourself about how to make Christmas great, filled with activities or crafts for each day so that your kids will remember that Advent is about Jesus … and yet, somewhere in the midst of all that, there’s a chance (if you’re like me) that we’ve lost the wonder, awe, and slow gazing upon Jesus that Christmas (and our lives) are all about.

There’s a chance that we will let all those good things become ruling things – crafts, desserts, and activities that captivate our time, and affection, and attention more than Jesus. There’s a chance that we’re comparing ourselves to a multitude of things and people during the Christmas season, and in doing so, miss the simple, beautiful, pure joy of the God who came to be WITH us. If we’re honest, we probably need to say “no” to a lot more things than we say “yes” to this December.

I’m not trying to talk you out of your favorite books, traditions, and activities – by all means, do the things that bring life to you and your family and point you to the wonder, awe, and joy of Jesus. Go to a Christmas party and celebrate because God has given you life and laughter and peace. Make that craft each day because you and your kids love it and look forward to the tradition of it every year. But don’t do these things just because the neighbor is or because you’re looking for your identity in that. Gaze with wonder at Emmanuel and lead your children in doing the same. Point to Him in the lights, the songs, the Bible, the opportunities to give, and the gifts received. Slow down, breath in the wonder and grace of the season, and look to Him who came, be reminded of how that has changed your life forever.

Maybe the simple things we do with our children this season are enough; because Jesus is enough.

These are the questions I’m going to be asking this season, “did we gaze on Jesus today?” and “did we watch for the Light?”

And whether it’s through reading an Advent devotional before bed, baking some slice ’n’ bake cookies, driving around looking at lights, re-reading the Nativity story, making exquisite gingerbread houses, secretly dropping off delicious cookies at our neighbors’ houses, singing Christmas carols and hymns, or staying home in our PJs watching movies by the Christmas tree all day – I hope that the answer is YES, we gazed upon the wonder and hope and beauty that is in Jesus in that seemingly significant or insignificant thing we did today; we watched for Him making all things new.

And if it’s NO, we forgot Him today – guess what?

There’s grace for that. That’s why He came.

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