The Secret Longings of Christmas

Writer Author  Ruth Wood
Christian Article : Christmas  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer “Bah Humbug!” you say. “I love Jesus, but you can have these commercial Christmases.”

For a long time the increasing secularization of Christmas, the distortion and even outright rejection of the holiday’s true meaning, troubled me. But then came an epiphany. Despite myself that holiday, I kept marveling at the beauty of the season—glittering gold, shining silver, poinsettia red, pine green—creative splendor everywhere. The homes in my neighborhood displayed twinkling lights, rotund Santas, jolly snowmen, and nativity scenes. Soon I found myself thinking, “It looks like the whole world is throwing a party!”

A deeper meaning.

However, I was puzzled. Why would a society that essentially rejects the child in the manger go to such lengths to celebrate? “Christmas makes money,” you say. But why does Christmas make money? What is Christmas selling? I decided to set aside my frustration with holiday consumerism and investigate. Could Christmas mania be expressing something deeper?

It’s often said that Christmas turns the heart toward home. I pondered connections. Christmas and home . . . Heaven and home. I began to suspect that the ways we celebrate Christmas are tied to something more primal, to an unconscious longing for the person and place for which we were ultimately created.

Christmas takes us home.

The song says it well:

I’ll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

The lyrics, “Christmas Eve will find me where the love light beams,” evoke warm images of family and friends gathered around a softly lit tree, a fire crackling in the hearth, of laughter and happy togetherness. Home is supposed to be the place where we belong, where we’re accepted and loved, where we enjoy the company of loved ones. It’s a haven of comfort, peace, and safety. Home provides shelter, a refuge from harsh elements, a place to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate after playing in the snow.

Home is a cherished ideal in our hearts, especially because of what we believe it’s supposed to be and often is not. Many times our homes do not protect us from the cold realities of life. They’re not places of warmth and acceptance, so we yearn for harmony in our relationships and peace in our world.

Perhaps the most unsettling truth about the earthly places we call home is their transitory nature. Our souls remain restless for permanence, for that place where we’ll never have to say goodbye again, to anyone or anything.

The good news is that Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you . . . ” (John 14:3 NIV). He’s readying a permanent home for every believer. Imagine Him decorating heaven, attending to every detail in happy anticipation of our coming. Family and friends gone before wait too. When we finally arrive on heaven’s doorstep, the door will fling wide open and our loved ones will greet us with cries of joy. What a reunion that will be! Home at last—safe, warm, comforted.

Christmas whispers romance.

There’s a certain romance about Christmas. It’s a time when we want to be close to those we love. To snuggle by the fire as Christmas music plays softly in the background. To go for a walk in the snow. To playfully toss a few snowballs!

That first Christmas after I’d fallen in love with my husband, the whole world seemed lit just for me. I dreamed of a white Christmas and “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” He brought me a dozen red roses, and I skated on air. Everything about Christmas that year shimmered with promise.

Every now and then I cast a wistful glance at the mistletoe hanging in my entryway, and a quiet yearning comes over me. Oh, to be young again! But then I ask myself, “Do I really want to be that twenty-two year old girl in love again?” No, the older I get the more I recognize this feeling. Nothing and no one on the planet can touch this unique ache in my heart—I’m wanting Jesus.

Heaven will be the culmination of history’s greatest romance, of Christ and His bride. Since we were created for a person, it makes sense that our longings will not end until at last we’re together.

Christmas throws a party.

People love to celebrate Christmas. Think about how we do it. The food. The decorations. The gifts. The music. Office parties. Christmas dinner. And light. Lights everywhere.

We use Christmas to create a magical world for our children. Why? Perhaps there’s a part of us that misses the childlike qualities of innocence, the capacity for wonder and awe, and the uninhibited joy. Underneath all the festivities, aren’t we just longing to be happy?

Picture our open-mouthed wonder when we walk through those pearly gates. It will be like a magical Christmas, only far better. The music? Angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus maybe. The decor? Streets of transparent gold, city walls sparkling with sapphires, emeralds, topaz, and amethysts. The light? The glory of God. The Bible tells us that “there will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun…for the glory of God gives [the city its] light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelations 21:23b, 22:5, NIV).

We will be invited to enter where the tree of life stands, and the Lord will pass out presents. In Revelations 2 we read about some of these gifts: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life…I will give the crown of life…I will give him a white stone with a new name written on it…I will give him authority over the nations…I will give him the morning star.” How can we comprehend such lavish gifts?

Then, not unlike a family Christmas dinner, we’ll be ushered into the wedding feast of the Lamb, a place pulsating with unrestrained, intoxicated joy. I look forward to indulging in all that good food without one fleeting thought to my hips! Talk about a party. Glorious ambiance, music that will surely inspire us to dance, being with all the ones we love . . .

Oh, I’ll so want to be home that heavenly Christmas. But for now, it shall remain “only in my dreams.”

©2012 Ruth Wood. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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