We are two days into the celebration of advent. Our kids are only 4 years old, so this is the first year we are being intentional for advent. I knew it would spark some decent conversation with the kids. I didn’t know I would already feel convicted in my heart.
Three nights ago as we discussed what we would be doing every night before bed. Then we asked questions like “why would be doing this?”, “what is Christmas about?”, etc. We got the typical church-kid answers: “baby-Jesus” “it’s about giving, not gettin'”. I made the comment “because Jesus is the best gift ever!” Like any “good Christian parent” would say, right? My son’s response: “no He’s not. I like toys.They are the best presents.” So being the “good Christian parents” (let’s just from here on out abbreviate that to GCPs. Mmmkay?) we “corrected” him by telling him “no Jesus is better. He was is God’s gift to us, He was born to take away sin…” I’m sure we sounded a lot like Charlie Browns parents to him “waaah wah wahhh waaaah”. He looked at us like he wanted to say “Yeah. Right. Thanks mom & dad. I’ll log that away.”
Yes. I said it. But there has to be others out there (besides my 4 year-old son) who agree with me.
Think of every Christmas season you’ve experienced you possibly can. Or birthday. Or any other awesome amazing time from your life. In the midst of those moments are your thoughts, “wow. Jesus is better then all of this.” I know that’s not where my heart goes. That begs me to ask the question: why is it so stinkin’ hard to know, to feel that Jesus is better?!
Ok, I do know, in my head, I’ve been told my entire life: Jesus is better. Jesus is better.
But do my spending habits reflect that belief? My thought life? My free time? What I get excited about? Honestly, I have to confess: not really. My four-year old son is mature enough (or not prideful enough yet) to admit it freely: stuff.is.better. I can touch it. It excites me. Therefore: better.
How do I get to that place where I know, believe, feel that Jesus is better? If I keep saying it enough times, will I finally feel it? The truth is, I’ve been wrestling with this heart issue for months now.
I deeply miss people from Washington. Especially the ones who poured into me. Challenged me. Encouraged me. I have found myself the last few months longing for a mentor. When parenting issues arose my first thought was “who can I call for advice or help?” I cried out to God “why did You take my people away from me?! I NEED them!”
In my heart I felt His gentle response, “Aren’t I enough for you?”
“Well yes. I mean you’re God…but You’re not here. I can’t have coffee with You. You can’t tell me how You disciplined Your kids…hello?! Your Son is perfect!” (You can get snarky with God sometimes, right? I mean, if anyone can take it, He can.)
“I am enough Jaimi.”
Jesus is better.
True He has given us things for our enjoyment (1Tim. 6:17). He likes us to have joy. Just like as a parent, it brings me joy to see my kids enjoying themselves. But those things He’s given me, people, and places should always point me back to Him. He gave it to me. Without Him….I wouldn’t have true joy. No matter what stuff I had, or people I hang out with, or places I get to go. He brings true joy. Jesus’ birth brings “great joy” (Luke 2:10).
My prayer is that as I work through this, I act on what I know. And that through my actions, our kids will see and know and act. I don’t expect them to get it yet, but I believe we are laying a very important foundation and planting the most valuable of seeds. (We are also doing some things a little different this year as far as gifts go to help our hearts not get wrapped up in stuff. But that’s for another post.)
Celebrating Christmas, and advent specifically is a great way to remind ourselves: Jesus is better. The best. And really, if Christmas had nothing to do with Christ…wouldn’t it feel so…pointless? We can try to fill it with other traditions, customs, and stories, but those do not fill the longing in our hearts for something bigger. Peace, love, joy, and hope. Those are found in Christ alone. “The weary world rejoices”, I love that line from “O Holy Night”.
Do you find it’s easy to forget that Jesus is better? How do you remind yourself that Jesus is better? Or do you even have trouble believing it yourself?
May you and myself and our families see new aspects of Jesus this Christmas season. May He show us, prove to us, He is better. He is enough.