As Christmas approaches, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement, the hustle and bustle of preparation, without really thinking about what we are preparing for. We get excited about the season without getting excited about Christ, and that sucks any real meaning out of it.
To combat this, I’ve been reading The Greatest Gift, an advent devotional by Ann Voskamp, and I love it so much! The book captures what the spirit of Christmas should be and presents it in such a beautiful way.
Over this week, I want to share some of my favorite passages with you (not all of them, because I want you to be able to enjoy the book for yourself!) Each post will feature 2-3 quotes and a little elaboration on why I love them. I hope this inspires you and helps you to keep focused on Christ in this season.
And I highly, highly recommend this devotional! These quotes are even more powerful when read in the context of the entire reading, and there is so much more that I won’t be mentioning on here.
Day 2: Wonder
“Ravished with wonder.
“That the earth outside your window is tilted right now at just twenty-three degrees…so the planet’s bulk of six sextillion tons…spins perfectly balanced on an invisible axis…
“So go to the window. Go to the hills, the desert, the corner, the back door, and be ravished and taken and awed, and you who were made by Love, made for love- be still and know and watch love come down.
“The answer to deep anxiety is the deep adoration of God.” (13-14)
If we love God and appreciate His incredible creation, there will be no room for anxiety in our lives.
The truth is that this world is pretty amazing. Things in our everyday life are gorgeous: fall leaves, spring flowers, the snow, the ocean. Every time I start thinking about space, my mind gets blown. I just don’t understand how anyone can look at something like supernovas, or even just the size of the galaxy, and not believe in a God. His hand is everywhere.
And through Jesus, we are given access to this God, the God who created everything far beyond what we could even fathom. This powerful God loves us and cares for us every day. He is on our side, and if He is on our side, what do we have to lose?
Day 4: Rest
“While other creeds endeavor to get us out of the world and into heaven, in Christianity, heaven comes down and Christ comes into this world to get us.” (31)
The big difference between Christianity and Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism…we do not have to do anything.
Christ’s sacrifice paid everything. There is nothing more we could possibly do to get ourselves into heaven, and nothing more that is necessary. Christ poured out his blood for us, suffering impossible agony. Why would we diminish that by thinking we must add to it?
Christ came to us. We do not have to climb to Him. And so we simply rest.
Day 6: Laughter
“The gigantic secret gift that He gives and we unwrap…we who were barren now graced with the Child who lets us laugh with relief for all eternity. There is nothing left to want. There is nothing left to fear…So loosen up, because the chains have been loosed, and laugh the laughter of the freed. Laughter- it’s all oxygenated grace.
“In the press of a dark world, laughter comes…as the reliever and then the reminder- that ache is not the last word for those who believe God. Jesus is. Jesus is the last word, and we rejoice and rejoice again and re-joy again because grace is our oxygen now.” (50-51)
From the gospel, from the Christmas story, comes infinite joy. God is real. He cares for us. We are saved. He loves us with an everlasting love that will never end.
When you feel sad, when you feel insecure, always remember that your sufferings do not have to be the end and that Jesus came to give you infinitely more. Through Him, we may not live perfect lives, but in the midst of the problems and the suffering, we can find joy anyway. That which most defines our lives, the gospel, can never change.
How do you stay focused on Christ during Advent? Which of these excerpts is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!