If we haven’t met, I’m Liberty, born and raised in Canada, living life with my love in Philly! I have a fierce independent streak (which has it’s pros and cons ) and love a good bit of adventure. I like to discover new places and faces as often as possible and endeavor to share Jesus with as many of those faces as I can along the way!
This advent season has been a bit of a reality check for me. I have been endeavoring with every ounce of will to not get sucked into the hustle and bustle, and let’s be honest-STRESS- that this season sometimes brings. My husband and I decided to be intentional with our time-perhaps not attend every party and event, but instead try to be fully present and engaged at the ones we did. Along that same vein, I thought it would be great to spend an entire Saturday soaking up all the Christmas Philadelphia could throw at us! No rush, no bustle, just strolling through the sights and sounds of a city Christmas. First stop- to see the light show and Christmas village at Macy’s. This was a sure bet. The Macy’s in Philadelphia sits in one of the most beautiful historic retail spaces in America and houses one of the largest pipe organs in the world. Since 1955 they have been putting on a holiday light show that accompanies the grand organ as it plays Christmas carols. Along with the light show, they put together a life-sized rendition of ‘A Christmas Carol’. When you enter, you immediately feel like you have slipped back in time circa 1840 just as Dickens described. You’re surrounded by those creepy but absolutely endearing animatronic characters from the beloved Christmas classic. Can you picture Tiny Tim? How could this adventure be anything but amazing?!
We set out with smiles on our faces that lasted about oh… 1.5 seconds. It was windy, very windy, too windy in fact! Ten minutes later we had missed our train. Twenty minutes in I was cold, hungry and yes…cranky! I thought, no worries, once we get inside all will be well. We finally arrived at our destination only to find …people…everywhere! Kids under clothing racks, screaming parents, merchandise in every direction with signs in abundance boasting the biggest sale of the year(you say that every week, I’m onto you Macy’s). Really? This was Going to be our relaxing Christmas in the city?! We braced ourselves for the hour long line into the Christmas village and peeped through the Santa themed lingerie racks to catch a glimpse of that famous light show. It was then and there that I realized that this wasn’t at all what I had pictured. I knew if I fixated on what I thought this day was supposed to look like, I would surely miss all of the unexpected joy in what was right in front of me. Walking home that evening, we walked down the many cobblestone streets lined with row homes, decorated with fresh spruce sprigs and gleaming white lights in the windows. All was silent, all was bright. A peace settled in me as I stared at those lights, a small reminder of the reason inside this season.
All of this makes me think of the journey that the wise men embarked on to reach Jesus, their messiah. Think about the weeks that turned into months and the months that some theologians believe could have even been years. They were following what the Bible describes as a star, a light, and holding on to the prophesies that foretold of what was to be. We can only imagine the chaos and the distractions they must have encountered along the way! The people that tried to persuade them to not continue or the reality of the challenges that would ensue such a journey. Yet, they continued in the pursuit until they reached that moment, the moment. The moment that changed everything, their encounter with the King. A King who perhaps was nothing like what they pictured a savior to look like. He was not born in kingly robes or placed upon a throne but instead…swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. O Holy Night.
How often in our pursuit to experience every bit of Christmas do we find ourselves journeying towards His light only to be distracted by the journey instead of focused on our destination? My prayer for you as we enter into the eve of this beautiful celebration is to encounter all of Christ this Christmas- to have an encounter with the King, your King. Engage the light that is set before you. Don’t be discouraged or distracted by how you wanted those cookies to turn out, or that relative who ALWAYS has to comment on your wrapping. Let’s even move past that unexplainable, slightly odd smelling substance on your child’s Christmas attire! In all the anticipation and excitement, let’s celebrate the beginning of that thrill of hope. The weary world rejoicing with Joy to the world and peace and goodwill toward men.