The Twelve Sanity Checks of Christmas

Sanity Check Number One: The world has always been in trouble at Christmas even before there was Christmas.

Through every generation there has been trouble, suffering, and trial in the world as Christians lit candles for the Christ child and slipped gifts under trees. We inhale the world’s toxins and exhale the breath of Christ with every carol. He entered a world of suffering with full knowledge of what He faced, so celebrate Him even amidst screaming headlines.

Sanity Check Number Two: Good godly Christians disagree about how to celebrate.

Families argue. We see things from different perspectives. The family of Christ is one in Him but we come from every tongue, tribe, and nation, so we’re likely to have differing thoughts on what it means to remember Christ at Christmas. Know why you choose what you choose and be at peace with Him in that. Don’t judge your Christian siblings but don’t handgirl-714212_640 them your joy.

Sanity Check Number Three: Most of us of us feel we aren’t enough.

Many of us are plagued with a vague notion that we cannot do enough, buy enough, give enough, or be enough to honor the season and to let our loved ones know how important they are to us. The truth is, we aren’t designed to be enough. We’re designed to sense this incompleteness and bring it to Him because we need Him. He is the One who is enough. If our loved ones feel this lack, then good. Let it send them to Him, too. Validate that. It’s never enough? Of course it isn’t, and it won’t be until you find your “enough” in Jesus.

Sanity Check Number Four: Those who feel they are enough for the season without Jesus are deceived.

Some hijack Christmas for their own purposes and inhabit the practices without allowing Jesus to inhabit their lives. He will sort this out in His time. Their presence at our gatherings reminds us that more than the flickering bulbs on the tree, we are the lights of Christmas and into the year to come. Be that light.

Sanity Check Number Five: Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama, and Vladimir Putin have a certain amount of power but in the end, we’ll find they had less eternal influence than one single soul completely yielded to Jesus.

Be that soul.

magical-1090663_640Sanity Check Number Six: Some Christmas’s it’s hard to celebrate and that’s just life, not a failing on your part.

God created us human. He knows what we’re made of and doesn’t reject our humanity. When someone dies, we’re sad. When we’re fighting cancer, diseases, or old age, we’re weary. When we don’t have enough money to pay the bills, we’re frustrated. When tragedy strikes, we’re overwhelmed. When we’re alone, we’re lonely. When these conditions arrive at Christmas, they’re magnified. Jesus doesn’t lay burdens on the season, we do. He isn’t another relationship we have to manage, He came to carry us. Let Him into whatever you’re experiencing at Christmas and He’ll wrap you in His presence.

Sanity Check Number Seven: The whole world is not having a party and gathering around perfect tables.

Some are, but most humanity is not having a wonderful life at Christmas. We know this but we forget it under the bombardment of Hollywood and Hallmark. You feel like the only one, but somewhere not far from you, another feels like the only one. Pray for that one. Ask God to let you know who else may need a call or visit to say, I’m not at a great party or happy feast either. Let’s be alone together and Jesus will make three.

girl-60676_640Sanity Check Number Eight: Christmas feels like a battleground because it is and always has been.

The clock has been ticking on the evil one since the foundation of time, but the birth of Christ brought the plan to light for all humanity. In Bethlehem, God pulled back the curtain on Satan and unveiled the limits of his earthly powers to destroy us. The end is decided but skirmishes continue. As in any battle, the best strategy is to remain calm, stand your post, and pay attention to the One in charge.

Sanity Check Number Nine: People don’t come to Jesus because we say Merry Christmas or wear buttons about reasons.

People are drawn to Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and by hearing the truth of Christ. The most important items to wear this season are lights-1088141_640your pieces of spiritual armor and the most valuable words you can utter are the words of the gospel. Just ask Linus.

Sanity Check Number Ten: Our loved ones aren’t trying to ruin our holidays, they’re just reminding us how much we all needed Jesus to come.

We get on one another’s nerves. We fail each other. We sometimes are abominable and mean and unkind even at Christmas. We are as much in need of forgiveness and mercy on December 25th as we were in July so let grace be the dish you bring to the potluck. Let it be the first item across the threshold and remember Christ has a serving of that to heap on your plate as well.

Sanity Check Number Eleven: The poor and needy will be with us in January, too.

Your neighbors helped at a soup kitchen. Your sister and her family invited in refugees for a meal. Your college roommate moved to the inner city to work on racial reconciliation in Christ. You can barely manage to get presents and a meal on the table for your own brood. Don’t dismiss those stirrings of wanting to be active in the work to be done in the world and don’t settle them by resolving to do more next Christmas. People will be needing to see Jesus in the hands and feet and arms of the Body of Christ the week after Christmas, too. The calendar doesn’t empower Christ-like charity, the portrait-53899_640Holy Spirit does. Ask for direction and then follow it on December 26 and beyond.

Sanity Check Number Twelve: Don’t treat Jesus like a baby. Jesus came as a baby but He grew up. He’s with us at the grown up table and is a present help in every situation.

Don’t try to shield Him from anything your facing this season – marital strife, drug addiction, discord, church schism, moral failing, desperation of soul, despair, sorrow, utter fright for the future, doubt, disappointment, greed, selfishness, or the desire to hide from it all. He is the One who is undisturbed by the wind and storm. He is the One who raises the dead, who makes the blind see, the lame walk, and the hardened sinner repent. He came to be with us so let Him. He isn’t a fragile babe in a manger made of imported china, He is the King who has come and is coming again.

sword-790815_640Jesus is powerful and present. Humans are amazing, fascinating, engaging creations but we need Jesus to save us from our sinfulness and failings. He did and He does. He inhabited our humanity. He lived a sinless life. He died on the cross and rose again. He lives now and is coming again. He is merciful, strong, holy, just, and able to save. He is the love that is stronger than death. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

Beyond the panic. Beyond the presents. Beyond the fragile peace we create for twenty-four hours of our own devices, He is and He wants to be with us, loved ones.

This is the sanity of Christmas in a mad, mad world. Let us pour this truth into our cups and drink our fill.

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7 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Rob McCullough says:

    Amen Lori, thank you for the timely reminder about Christ and our place with Him as we go through things.

  2. Lyn says:

    Such poeerful, truthful words! Thank you Lori!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Excellent!

  4. Tammy says:

    Thank you for bringing the holiday season into beautiful focus. I thank God for your gift, and the willingness to share it!

  5. Jo-Ann (formerly of Little Rhody!) says:

    Thank you, Lori, for this thought-provoking message and much needed reminder to keep looking up…..truly I take it to heart, esp. since I’m experiencing some unrest at this time.

  6. Margaret Lalich says:

    Thank you Lori, This was beautiful, wise and so refreshing! Blessings, Love and Laughter to you sister.

  7. Sherry Kaiser says:

    Bravo!!