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Life in a Snow Globe

Christmas seems to shake up my world.

There is something magical about a snow globe. A child's eyes fill with wonder every time one is shaken. The snow swirls around the scene until it finally settles motionless on the bottom - until someone shakes it again.

When I unpacked my Christmas decorations this year, I found a treasured snow globe wrapped in brown paper. I shook it, and waited for the snow to settle, I imagined what it would be like to live inside. I began to picture myself in an idyllic Christmas scene, and then chuckled when I realized that when the holidays roll around, I DO live in a snow globe. When the holiday rush hits, it seems like someone has shaken my world.

The holidays bring extra stresses. Juggling the additional to-do lists can feel like trying to walk in a blizzard. In most homes these responsibilities fall on the women. Often we're the ones expected to make our family's season merry and bright. Decorating, gift buying and wrapping, cooking, party planning, card sending.... The list goes on. It's easy to get caught up trying to make everything look and taste Martha Stewart perfect.

But, along with these pressures Christmas demands that we celebrate the birth of Christ in a worthy manner. From Jesus' perspective, I wonder what a meaningful celebration of his birthday would look like. Would it be one where guests visit with each other, enjoy the food, chat about the effort it has taken to get to the party, and how festive everybody looks? Would Jesus get only a polite nod and an occasional "Happy Birthday?"

How does Jesus want us to celebrate his birthday when our world is shaken up? The answer may be somewhat different for each person, but I believe Jesus would want us to include some of these ideas.

1. Focused time and attention. The infant Jesus came to reveal the Father to humanity in an intimate, personal way. He is called Emmanuel, God with Us. Time set aside to deepen our relationship with Christ can help us keep him a priority.

2. Sincere worship and celebration. Much glorifying and praising God was heard on the night of the Savior's birth. Nurturing a joyful, praising heart during the most hectic part of the year ministers to the Lord. By setting our eyes above the season's glitter and materialism and reflecting on our Lord can help us keep a healthy perspective.

3. Serve others. Partnering with God in serving others out of love rather than obligation is at the heart of the gospel. For God so loved the world that he gave.... He will empower us as we ask Him to give us his eyes and heart toward others at Christmas.

4. Prioritize holiday activities. Advance planning and commitment is necessary to give Christ his proper place in the holiday season. If we don't plan ahead, last minute frenzy can overwhelm us. If it does, Christmas will leave us exhausted with our tummies full and our souls bare.

As I watched the snow settle at the bottom of my snow globe, I noticed that the blizzard was merely a dusting of snow. Details that seem so important during the holiday rush will soon be forgotten. Investing in relationships with Jesus, family, friends and the least of these can echo the angels' proclamation of "peace on earth, good will toward men."

When we put our decorations away, we can look back on Christmas as a rich and meaningful celebration for us as well as for Christ. Let every heart prepare him room, even in a snow globe world.

December16, 2008 at 5:47 PM

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