The Christmas season is terribly hard for many people. While work may slow down for a few people, any free time is swallowed up by a busier social calendar, the need to buy gifts, decorating, or a heavenly host of other time-sappers. Add to this, emotions intensify. Loneliness and depression statistically are at their worst during the Christmas season. Grief deepens over recent or not-so-recent losses of loved ones. Family dysfunctions rear their head. Weariness increases impatience. Even for those who love and enjoy everything about Christmas, the busyness of the season is exhausting.
Do you ever wonder what God thinks about Christmas? Is it possible that the Christmas season is the loneliest season of the year for God? In a sermon that I remember from a recent Christmas season, David Dwight listed the Top Ten Activities (according to the Internet) of the Christmas season. Amazingly, going to church didn’t make the list. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. I know that so many Christmas seasons have gone by where I realized after Christmas day that I had hardly given God a thought. Sad, isn’t it?
The writer of the book of Hebrews in the Bible urges us to “draw near to God with a sincere heart.” What could possibly make God happier than for us to give heed to this call? What if each day during this last week before Christmas we took some unrushed time just to sit with Jesus and draw near. Not the obligatory quiet time or the cursory reading of Scripture, but heart-felt drawing near to God. We may feel uncomfortable trying to draw near, yet that may make the effort all that much more precious to God. The gifts that require sacrifice are often the most meaningful.
The hymn “In the Bleak Midwinter” has one of my favorite verses of all the Christmas hymns.
What shall I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part,
But what I can I give Him, give my heart.
We have a few days left until Christmas. Our efforts to draw near to God may be meager, but they may also be the very best Christmas gift we could give Him. “Draw near to God with a sincere heart.”