You know what I'm talking about with the phrase "that feeling of Christmas" right? The warm fuzzies, the cozy by the fireplace picture of a perfect family in matching pajamas opening presents near the glistening tree, mittens and hot cocoa after making a snowman feeling of Christmas. Do you feel it?
I've had that conversation more times this week than ever before. "It just doesn't feel like Christmas." Most people around me are blaming the 60 degree weather. Maybe that's it, but I have other theories.
Maybe it's old age and the magic seems gone.
Maybe it's loss or the memories of loved ones no longer here with us. For my family and so many other people I know, this is especially tough.
Maybe it's the busyness of the season and all the calendar things and lists and chaos.
I don't know what it is, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas.
But I do know this to be true: it's still Christmas, whether we feel it or not.
Jesus still came, even though he didn't come as the people expected. They expected a king, and they got a humble baby who couldn't feed himself much less rule a nation from his cloth diaper. I'm sure some of them didn't feel like He was the king, even when they were told who He was. My guess is that even Mary and Joseph, though they knew what was true, didn't feel like He was their Savior that night after she labored and pushed him out of her very own body. The physical labor had to make it feel so much more like Jesus was her son and not God's.
Isn't it so much like today? I've had the conversation with high school girls numerous times about not feeling close to Jesus, and I've had to explain that our feelings don't dictate what we know to be true. I have to preach this to myself just as well. Just because we don't feel like He is near doesn't mean He isn't. Perhaps it's in those times He's nearer than ever and we let our feelings get in the way.
Just because we don't feel like it's Christmas doesn't mean it isn't. He still came. He's still coming. Maybe it's all the other things we've deemed "Christmas" to be that have taken away our ability to see him or feel his nearness or his coming. This is the very nature of the waiting. The coming.
As we wait, we do in fact feel things, but they aren't always the warm fuzzies. We have feelings, but mine in the past week have been feelings of stress, chaos, frustration, bitterness, anxiety, and everything far from Christmasy. I've also noticed a trend that this happens to me every year at this time. I'm wondering if this is exactly why - so I could recognize this very night that the waiting and the feeling and His coming are all tied together in this crazy, unexpected way that doesn't go with the Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kinkade paintings we have in our minds of snowfall and Santa scenes.
It was a broken world when Jesus came then. It's a broken world that Jesus will come to when He returns. It remains a broken world as we wait until that day, but He is here. And that is as close as He could ever be - here with us.
I hope that will sink in and give us all some warm fuzzy feelings but more importantly the knowledge and peace that comes with His presence even when our feelings cloud our vision.