The joy of Christmas has already filled the Overstreet headquarters, as Anne and I read the Christmas story… Luke, Chapters 1 and 2… last night. And, once again, it was a whole new experience.

This time I was especially impressed by the story of Zechariah, the the father of John the Baptist, who was a man of great insight. While he had to take a rather lengthy “time out” to ponder what God can do, he did — upon comprehending the enormity of what was about to happen — discern that the coming of Jesus was not going to be the coming of a Lord who would take the world by military force, or a Lord who would make life easier, but a Savior who would be victorious by saving us from our sins. Similarly, Simeon, the priest who blessed Jesus, foresaw that Jesus would bring this salvation also to the Gentiles. That is some profound understanding, perspectives that many of Jesus’s own followers had difficulty perceiving.

In the coming year, I want to know my Lord better. I cannot comprehend him, but by believing in him, all things around me become illuminated. I want to avoid reducing him to the kind of Savior I think I want, but rather behold the kind of Savior that he is… because his will is so much grander than anything I have yet imagined. Zechariah and Simeon didn’t rejoice just because Jesus was coming to bless them… but because they knew he would bless others as well.

Movies, music, literature, art… all of these things move me because they reflect fragments of his beauty, his design for creation, his will. Pray that I will not be distracted or seduced by the allure of these things, but that they will continue to be a means to an end, pathways that I travel to be nearer to him rather than a destination in and of themselves.

I pray that you too will not be distracted by the “stuff” of Christmas, but that you will remember and cherish the truth… that God has done far more to express his love for us than we could ever do for him. And when the “grey rain curtain” of this world is drawn back, we will see him as he is… if we’re watchful.

Remember the words of Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien, which he included in a letter to his son Michael in 1962: “Well here comes Christmas! That astonishing thing that no ‘commercialism’ can in fact defile—unless you let it.”

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