I often think of the words of the English poet, William Wordsworth, who, hundreds of years ago got it right: Indeed, the world is too much with us. It’s with us morning, noon and night and even in the middle of the night when a message on our cell phones dings us out of sleep. Social scientists and medical professionals tell us that our technological devices are actually changing our brains and robbing us of our ability to think deeply, to read, to be quiet.
n December, along with all that everyday life piles on us, we come to the time to celebrate the birth of the one who changed everything--who made possible healing between God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth… and man. Man: God’s creation, now flawed, weak, distractible and self-seeking creation but whom God loved with a love that doesn’t make sense. He did this by becoming human himself, by loving and giving and sacrificing. And this, we celebrate!
Yet we celebrate, to use Wordsworth’s words, by “getting and spending.” Few words describe much of the world’s celebration of Christmas better than these two. We get and we spend and overdo almost every good thing there is to do, with sparkling lights on top. “We lay waste our powers… we exhaust ourselves.” Yes, we have “given our hearts away,” poem continues, “…we are out of tune.”
But what can we do differently this Christmas? “I would hope that some, perhaps for the first time, will try staying home,” wrote Elisabeth Elliot. “A man in the nineteenth century said, ‘The fretfulness of our spirits is more hurtful than the heaviness of our burden.’ You may be among the least frantic and harried if you simply stay home.” And we might need to add: unplug.
You can make choices this Christmas. You can choose to stay in, to invite in, to leave your device in the other room, to notice others, to speak words of encouragement and appreciation and wrap your celebration in inner quietness that can only come from a dogged determinedness to begin each day with Jesus and His Words He has for you today.
What kind of a Christmas do you want to have this year? Does your heart whisper, as does the heart of writer, Ann Voskamp, when she says, “I don’t want a Christmas you can buy. I don’t want a Christmas you can make. What I want is a Christmas you can hold. A Christmas that holds me, remakes me, revives me. I want a Christmas that whispers, Jesus.”
This Christmas, of our celebration, let’s say, with the three kings, “…we have come to worship Him.” (Luke 2:2)