My son was Charlie Brown in his school play “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown.” One of his first lines was that it was almost Christmas and it just didn’t feel like Christmas. I’m sure we’ve all seen the Charlie Brown Christmas special and how Charlie Brown was not a fan of all the commercialism surrounding the holiday. He then goes on a journey searching for the true meaning of Christmas.
I’ve seen the cartoon on TV year after year, but it was a real joy seeing my son play the part of Charlie Brown. I was so proud of him.
The connection I felt as the play began to unfold stayed with me for the rest of the night and into the next morning. Before the play, it didn’t feel like Christmas. We have the tree up, the decorations, the presents all bought (not wrapped of course because I like to live on the edge and wrap them three hours before Christmas morning, it’s tradition), Christmas music playing, snow on the ground. Everything surrounding me should be getting me into the mood for Christmas, just like it should’ve been for Charlie Brown, too. But sometimes around Christmas finding that “Christmas Spirit” is truly something I need to search for on a daily basis, and that’s part of the reason why I am writing this advent devotional!
This lack of “Christmas Spirit” isn’t a new experience for me. For awhile now Christmas has not always been the “most wonderful time of the year.” For me, Christmas had not been the same since Santa Claus was real to me, as crazy as that might sound. You don’t need to know my age to know that Christmas was an empty place in my heart for a really long time.
Even when my children were younger it was so difficult to get the “feeling” of Christmas back. When I became a Christian I thought maybe Christmas would become alive for me again, but even that didn’t change anything for me.
Christmas still doesn’t feel like it used to when I was growing up. But I think that’s ok because now Christmas is a real event for me instead of things like presents, Santa Claus, or cookies, or even decorations to bring the feeling of Christmas to my heart. I have real moments bringing me everlasting joy and daily gifts of God’s grace.
Christmas is a moment to moment event, not just alive and real on a specific day. As the years have gone bye, and Christmas for me has changed over the years, I’ve learned that Christmas was never about just one day.
Advent is a season and it is a blessing to be able to experience Christ every day. If Jesus never gave His life then we wouldn’t have Him to walk with everyday.
I can’t imagine what life was like before Jesus, and before Holy Spirit. We think life is tragic now, just imagine how difficult it must’ve been without the Holy Spirit resting on His people. It probably felt a little bit like Christmas without Christ.
After Jesus was born, life on earth changed, and maybe we can’t see or feel that change because we weren’t alive before Christ. But I’m sure we remember what life was like before Christ entered into our lives. Sometimes I forget, but then I’m quickly reminded.
But just like Christmas changed for me when Santa Claus wasn’t real anymore, so did the world change when Jesus was born into this world. Our world, and our life becomes something so much more and so different once Christ enters into it.
I guess Charlie Brown was searching for something just a little more meaningful than gifts, fancy trees, and prizes for light contests. Sometimes we might sit and wonder “What’s the point?”
This advent season I’ve discovered the point is to live your life like it is a gift you can give to everyone around you, just like Jesus did.
In Matthew 20 Jesus talks about how even the Son of Man came not to be served but to GIVE His LIFE for ransom for many. He also says that in order to be a good leader you need to be a serve others!
Living my life like it is a gift to give away is a gift that I can take with me every day, even when Christmas is over. When I live my life like it’s a gift to give I will be bringing Christmas with me throughout the year, and beyond.
It’s amazing how Jesus can make everything in our life eternal just because we believe in Him. Every day we have the opportunity to give to others what Christ gave to us. Like forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, healing, and service. We can accomplish this through giving what we have, right now. God truly gives us a purpose, and we are blessed and humbled to share those gifts with the world.
At the end of the play Charlie Brown’s friends takes the sad little tree that Charlie Brown picked out and decorated it really nice for him. Charlie Brown’s friends gave him a very special gift that didn’t cost a ton of money, just a little bit of time and kindness, and it helped him to finally start to feel like it was Christmas once again.
P.S. My gift to you is the Ephesians 4:32 scripture image shown at the top of this post. Just download, print, cut out, and enjoy!
Download by clicking on this link: Advent Day 16 Scripture Image