As I reflect on the last couple of weeks, one might say that our Christmas season was everything it ought to be. We had the manger set up in the center of our home to remind us of the birth of Christ. Our Christmas tree glittered with a delicate collection of ornaments that have grown in number during the past ten years. There were moments where our whole family cuddled on the couch with a massive bowl of popcorn and a classic Christmas movie. Christmas carols rang through the house every waking moment and the children even broke out into dancing at times. On Christmas Eve, our family put on our Christmas outfits, blending in with everyone else in our red and black. And of course, the big day arrived and we had Christmas! One might say we did it all!
But it wasn’t until a week after Christmas that I began to wonder if I truly did it all. I felt a sadness about everything. My irritability grew more intense that the famous and unspoken phrase of our home was, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Getting up in the morning became a chore and on most days, I awoke not from my alarm clock but from the children begging me for breakfast. Taking one close look at my heart, and one might say that I missed it all!
You see, in the midst of “doing Christmas”, I neglected the single most important part of my day: Quiet Time. Time with the Lord in my “Tent of Meeting”. Time to sit quietly and listen to the small voice of God. Time to pour out my heart to Him and allow Him to gently soothe my anxieties.
As I sat in church this past week, I considered my downcast heart and prayed that God would never leave me. My sadness was rooted from a distance I felt from God as a result of neglecting our relationship! We so often get completely caught up in the silly things of this world. I often wonder, as Mary sat in awe of her newborn baby, God in the flesh, if she ever imagined what Christmas would become. She probably never anticipated His birth to become all about presents, cookies and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. And if she were here today, it breaks my heart to think of how she would feel witnessing Christmas evolving into a “magical kingdom”. As I was brought to my knees with a humble heart, trying to worship in church, God ever so quietly spoke. In my heart, I was reminded of “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, You, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) I silently prayed that God would never leave me despite my unfaithfulness. As I lifted my head, displayed high above me was the verse, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38)
Isn’t that just like God? He gently reminded me that our brokenness will never be despised by him. In fact, he loves to see our contrite hearts in order to do his best work. And in my plea to never be abandoned, he brought to mind the beautiful truth that nothing can separate us from Him! We all pull away from God or we become distracted at times. But the most important thing is that we keep on going. We keep on searching. We keep on praying. And then, only then, can we come to realize that He is our all!