“[John’s perspective] I need you to know that He [Jesus] is a kind, intimate, and loving friend. I need you to know that.” Carl Gulley // 

We are in the full swing of the Christmas season. This could mean that your to-do list is getting longer, you still have Christmas shopping to do, cards to send out, Christmas programs to attend, and you may be feeling the juxtaposition of the assumed cheer of holiday festivities while the stress and pressures are building inside of you. When that begins to happen, it is all too easy to forget about the centrality of Jesus. Yes, we know the Christmas story. But if we do not take the time to listen carefully and remember Him, we will miss Jesus even as we are celebrating Christmas.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

If this advent season comes and goes, and all you get out of it are presents and a stress-induced headache, then you’ve missed it. You have missed the person of Jesus. Not the concept of Jesus or a cute baby in a nativity scene. But Jesus as a friend, the way John knew Him. John calls Jesus, “the Word” (John 1:1), but John also describes himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23).

It is impossible for us to travel back in time and see Jesus in the flesh. So while we may not be able to do that, we can still gaze upon Him. Center your heart on God, quiet your thoughts, and linger on the truth of who Jesus is. He isn’t just the Word, He also is a friend. He doesn’t just reflect God’s glory, He is also personal. A kind, faithful, loving friend. If it is hard for this truth to sink into your heart, camp out in the book of John. Read the first-hand accounts from someone who knew and loved Jesus, and knew that he was deeply loved.

You could easily think, that’s a great idea but I just don’t have time for it. The reality is that you don’t have time to NOT do it; the average person living in America will experience 80 Christmases, give or take. Why would we not, during a season that centers on Jesus, take time to actually look at and listen to Him? Why aren’t we more thankful that Christmas is a unique, annual reminder of the personal friendship of Jesus Christ, that we are so worth it to God that He sent Jesus to reveal Himself to us?

It is so easy to get caught up on the doing and activities. None of those things are wrong, but Jesus is more important. How would your Christmas season look different if all of it revolved around Jesus? Is that what you want? How do you posture yourself and what do you need to do to place Jesus at the center?