"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; Matthew 5:12
When the Christmas decorations come down from the attic each December there are a few things I unpack first; the really special things. The first is the handmade Nativity Stable my father-in-law made, the second is the needlepoint stockings with the kids names Dave’s sister Jan made and the third is much less sentimental but still a personal favorite; the movie Elf. Quite a contrast I know but there is a good reason. When I take out the first two my heart is touched! I think of the time and love that went into the creation of the stockings and stable and I re-play Christmas past. When the movie comes out I laugh; plain and simple…it just makes me laugh! It’s always good to laugh but this time of year it’s even more important to balance the hectic days with some spirit lifting laughter.
One of the things I love most about the main character; Buddy the Elf, is his contagious enthusiasm and cheerfulness. Granted, he’s a bit over the top but he just seems to roll with life, finding the good in everything and every person; including angry Taxi drivers and mean raccoons! He finds great pleasure in simple things like revolving doors, paper snowflakes and maple syrup. He works hard, doesn’t complain, tries his best to please everyone, compliments easily and speaks the truth always. He is good, kind, friendly and sincerely thoughtful and sweet. I think the world could use a lot more Buddy’s! The one thing though that really makes Buddy unique is his passion for Santa. One of my favorite scenes is when the store manager announces that Santa will be arriving the next day and Buddy jumps and claps and screams “I know him, I know him!” He immediately recognized the Santa that arrives the next day as an imposter. Right away he saw him and said, “That’s not him, I know him and that’s not him.”
Now before you all think I’ve lost my mind with today’s post I want you to stop for a minute and think with me. We have one more week of Advent left to get ready so allow me to make a comparison. In the movie, Buddy stayed up all night preparing the toy department for the arrival of his favorite guest; the guest he knew intimately. Buddy nearly jumped out of his elf tights with excitement when he found out he’d be seeing his friend. He loudly demonstrated passion, happiness, excitement, and unmeasurable pleasure at the mere mention of his friend’s name. What if the movie was called “Jesus” and we were the main character? What would our reaction to our friend be? Would there be jumping, clapping or unmeasurable joy and excitement at the mention of his name? Would we stay up all night making the perfect preparations for our special guest or would we just try to make time when we could squeeze in a minute or two here and there? Do we know him intimately or are we sometimes tricked by a false Jesus allowing it to distract or divert us from the true meaning of the Savior?
Sometimes we do the same thing over and over and wonder why it didn’t turn out differently. Maybe that describes your Advent but not to worry…there is a week left. There is great value to looking at something familiar with a completely new perspective. Maybe it’s time to think like Buddy the Elf. Maybe it’s time to imitate his enthusiasm. Maybe it’s time to put away doubt and skepticism and look with eyes and hearts of hope, joy and thoughtfulness. Maybe it’s time to imagine ourselves standing at the Nativity scene with contagious enthusiasm because he came…the savior came…to see me…to live for me…to die for me…to bring me the gift of salvation! Maybe our goal for the next week is to expect and anticipate Jesus with the same excitement Buddy had for Santa.
A Seed To Plant: Watch Elf, or at least a YouTube clip from the movie and see it through the lens of you and Jesus then make a plan for how you will imitate Buddy’s enthusiasm during this last week of Advent.
Blessings on your day!