final_advent_cover4.jpgThough you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. I Peter 1:8 (NIV)

Every Christmas I try not to miss it, to miss Him. I make it my goal to complete all my myriad tasks in an organized and timely fashion, so when the time comes, I’m serene, peaceful, and ready. I hurry and scurry and plan and prepare, so that when The Moment I’ve set to enjoy Jesus comes, I don’t overlook it.

The truth is I usually still manage to miss it. Every year I fall further behind. More unexpected guests show up, or my Christmas banana bread implodes, and I’ve got to make another batch. When I finally look up from the holiday wreckage, I discover that it’s time to pack up the ornaments, and I haven’t met with Jesus at all.

I can blame my busy schedule, my chronic procrastination, or my overwhelmingly large family for my failure to connect with my Savior at this most precious time. But if I really care to stop and examine my life, I see an insidious pattern of activity and planning, with very little room for stillness and worship. I realize the busyness is not the problem but a symptom: I haven’t the first clue about how to enjoy Jesus.

My faith is generally characterized by action. I go and do, I serve and help, and I make giant spiritual to-do lists to track my personal progress. But lately, I’ve felt a tug on my soul in the opposite direction. “Get back to Jesus,” it whispers to me. “All this activity will never fill your heart and deeply satisfy you.” “But,” I argue, “what about all the things on my list? They’re good things, things that need to be done.” “Yes,” says my soul, “but unless you do them from a heart overflowing with Jesus, they will not bring you the joy intended for you.”

So where do I begin this process of enjoying Jesus? This process that cannot be wrapped up and conveniently opened on Christmas morning, like a much-anticipated gift. If I want to experience the Christ in Christmas this year, I have to allow my soul to experience the discomfort of not knowing what to do or how to connect with Him. I have to sit at His feet, over and over, waiting patiently as He breaks down the walls I’ve built to guard my heart from His. Walls made of control and lists, of disappointment and fear. Simply put, I must learn to worship.

Truthfully, though, the worship transformation I need cannot only happen in my quiet times, although they are the bedrock. Instead, I must learn to enjoy Jesus all the time. John Piper says about worship, “It is not a mythical interlude in a week full of reality.” I’ve got to find a way to change my spiritual glasses so that I now see everything in my life as evidence of the presence and love of God and as proof that He is marvelous, glorious, and ultimately satisfying.

Enjoying Jesus is not a feeling I can conveniently manufacture at Christmas time. It must become my lifestyle, as much a part of my daily routine as breathing. Retraining my heart to recognize and praise Him in the everyday parts of my life will enable me to stop and enjoy Him, even in the middle of the busiest Christmas chaos.

I experience Jesus and know His presence in my life as I love and enjoy being loved in return. I must also translate my happiness and enjoyment of His good gifts to me into worship. If I can recognize His goodness, mercy, and glory in my everyday life and respond with a grateful, praise-filled heart, then when I am confronted with the enormous and overwhelming love He showed in His Advent, my heart is prepared to respond.

Lord Jesus, teach me to recognize Your presence in my life so that I may enjoy You more fully.

What are some ways to worship Jesus during your everyday activities?