Happy Sunday guys!

We are so, so close! Finals week is coming up, but the end of a hard fought semester is in sight. Christmas is such an amazing time of great joy for so many reasons, but it is so easy to completely miss the joy available to us because of stress. From finals week to decorating to traveling to possible family tension to getting those last minute Christmas gifts, Christmas can be so stressful.

All of us have heard the cheesy saying, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Although it can be so cheesy, it is so true. This is the time of year that we get to celebrate that a holy God, who spoke creation into existence by the sound of His voice, humbled Himself by becoming a human. Our God chose to experience the suffering of man firsthand by dwelling among His people. Jesus did not just come down for six hours to die on the cross to save us all. Our God wanted to be so relatable that He humbled himself to live for 33 years as a man, embracing a humble life with real human struggles. The way He entered the story was not the triumphant entrance He deserved. Jesus was born among animals in a cave. How incredible is it that our God chose to enter the story of humanity? He did not sit upon His throne to judge us and write us off for our sin. He chose to become Emmanuel, God with us, to put forth into motion the plan for offering scandalous grace to His people. This is why Jesus is worthy to be the reason for the season.

It is easy to amen the previous paragraph and say, “Yes! He should be the focus this Christmas!” At least for me, it can be difficult to live as if Jesus is truly the reason for the season. I get caught up in all good and bad Christmas offers. I get caught up in the stress over random things that shouldn’t be worth focusing on. I get even more caught up in the good things about Christmas and make them god things. Do I truly love worshipping Jesus at church more than I love opening that Christmas present I wanted so desperately? Do I love Christmas music because it sounds good and not because I’m truly blown away by the truth of the Christmas story? Do I love being with family and friends even more than I love being with God? Christmas presents, Christmas music, and family are certainly great things, but they are nothing compared to the goodness of our Emmanuel.

So how do we focus on the reason for the season? I came up with a few practical steps, but I scratched those ideas because at the end of the day the best, most practical advice I could give is to pray. We have a few weeks off, so busyness should not be an excuse. During this break and throughout this season, let’s pray like we’ve never prayed before. Let’s pray continually. Let’s pray with thanksgiving for what God has done and who He is. Let’s not just go through our prayers with a Christmas-list-to-Santa approach, but let us pray with a new, refreshed posture. Get excited about the truth of God and allow it to fuel your connection to God. Allow this break from school and work to draw you closer to God.

God entered our story! He became man, so He is able to fully relate to whatever you are going through. Our God is personal, and He did not choose to rule from afar. Even now, He wants to be your Emanuel. He is God with us, and He wants to be God with you. Seek Him and enjoy the goodness of our Lord in this season.

Weekly Update

The last couple weeks have been crazy. Crazy good and crazy exhausting. Thanksgiving break was not super relaxing for me because I was trying to meet up with so many different friends back home. I came into the last couple weeks of my first semester already exhausted. Everything I’m doing now is building to finals. I’ve been busy working ahead for finals week while also doing the normal workload of assignments. This past weekend we had Biola Bound which is so fun. We got to spend several days with prospective students, exploring campus and Southern California. It’s been comforting to see how God interacts us when we are tired and weary. Although I’m exhausted, I’m excited to sprint to the finish line!

I hope you guys have the best Christmas breaks! Enjoy the presents. Enjoy the music. Enjoy the beautiful decorations. Enjoy your family. But most of all, enjoy your Creator that has sought after your heart so intentionally.

Merry Christmas!