read to feed the soul
Written by FBJ Women for Women
by: Lindsey Williams
Christmas in My Heart – A Missionary Christmas
Christmas looks a little different for every family, but our faith gives us a shared experience. We understand that the real gift of Christmas is in the very name: Christ. As a missionary kid overseas, my Christmases were not white or the slightest bit cold, but we did set up a mobile fan in the kitchen when the temperature grew a little too toasty.
We were the only house in the neighborhood who decorated, the only family who celebrated the night the Word became flesh. In an Islamic country, you won’t hear Joy to the World on your doorstep or fall victim to the chaos of Christmas shoppers storming the stores. No, in Southeast Asia, traffic and crowds look like Black Friday every day. But that didn’t mean the Grinch had stolen our Christmas.
When I was a little girl, a few families and my own drove around the city to stop at other missionaries’ houses and sing carols outside their doors. Driving down those busy streets, I still remember the lights glinting in the car windows like unorthodox Christmas lights – our version of Christmas. And after a long evening of setting up our old and unchanged Christmas decorations every year, my mom, sister and I would sit around the dining room table, gazing at the colorful, mismatched lights of our fake Christmas tree, drinking hot chocolate, despite the eighty-degree weather.
Christmas, and all our holidays, looked a little different for my family, but not too different. Sure, we were one of the few families dressed up for Easter and our Thanksgiving turkey turned a suspicious shade of blue before we resigned it to the trash, but we all share the same Christmas gift as you: Jesus Christ.
All year long believers prepare for the chaos of the holidays in their budgets and their plans, but my prayer for us is that we prepare for the season in our hearts. I know we let presents and parties dazzle our eyes more than the short and sweet story of Christmas itself. When my dad pulled out his Bible to read Luke’s account of Christ’s birth every Christmas morning, I never appreciated it enough as a child. But in these past few years the words have kindled themselves in my heart, or rather, God has given me a joy no earthly present can ever promote when I read about a perfect Prince of Peace sent to die a violent death in my place, raised to life again, and gift me with an eternity in my heart. Let our shared experience of this gift make Christmas look a little different this year. As it already will be on this strange and uncertain year, let us show the world that on one strange and uncertain night, a fulfillment of God’s promise was born – a way to His heart.
“They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen and heard, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:16-20
Father, Free us from the chaos of so much Christmas “activity” so our hearts and schedules will make room for the Christ of Christmas. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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