“Jesus is the human face on the kingdom of God. He makes it concretely accessible.”
- Dallas Willard
I’ve had a series of conversations as a result of a podcast I heard. The podcast talked about all the anticipation and expectation tied to the Christmas season and the somewhat ironic hurry everyone seemed to be in to exit that season.
For most of us, we live a life during the Christmas season that is dramatically different than how we live the rest of the year.
We gather more with loved ones and friends.
We spend more focused time with immediate family.
We honor one another with gifts.
We spend less time at work and more time at play.
We touch base with people we never see at any other time during the year.
We reminisce about the past.
We worship and acknowledge God’s invasion on our humanity.
The podcaster also acknowledged that there was something far larger going on than we might realize. We were created for relationship, celebration, and worship. God’s Kingdom here on earth is established and observed most powerfully in our love for Him and our love for one another. We ache for all that.
The fact that our day to day reality, throughout most of the year, doesn’t embody the things we were created for, means that we enter the season with great longing and great anticipation. We were created to live a Kingdom life and all that unfulfilled desire is fully loaded into our expectation of our Christmas season.
It should not surprise us that:
we have so much anticipation about the coming Christmas season
we experience great disappointment during that season
we hastily pack away any remnant of the season and move on
The enemy of our joy stokes the fires of discontent and discord. We bring all 365 days and decades worth of hope and expectation (that even the grandest Rockwellian expression of the Christmas season could not requite) to burden our current Christmastide. It should not come as any surprise that we can easily find ourselves lonely, disconnected, and ready to exit the season as quickly as possible.
The antidote for all of this is to live every day throughout the year as fully in the Kingdom as possible.
It is to build into our weekly schedule; rest, friends, fellowship, and celebration. To live enough of a Kingdom life that Christmas isn’t so inconsistent with the rest of our year. Where the Christmas season is simply more about having other’s join us in a broader circle, for what we are enjoying all the time.
The challenge for this Christmas season is to linger. To hold on. To not pack away all that is glorious about this season and start pining for the next, but build it into our everyday reality. Jesus makes the Kingdom powerfully accessible, here and now. Let’s take him up on His offer.
How was your Christmastide?
Despite how good it might have been, was there unrequited longing?
How can you experience more of His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (as we do during this season) throughout the year? What are you willing to commit to?