by Tyler Quillet
In the summer of 2013, Cathie and I took our first trip to Ethiopia to meet our boys. Ethiopian adoption required two trips, so on this first trip, we would meet them, they would legally become our kids, and then we’d have to go home without them for a number of months while final paperwork was done on both the U.S. and Ethiopian sides. In preparation of our trip, some friends who had adopted overseas shared how necessary it would be for us to have a mini vacation somewhere on our way home from Ethiopia. This would allow us a couple of days together to process the time with our kids, grieve having to leave them there in the orphanage, and not have to go straight home to answer everyone’s questions while our heads were spinning. So, on our way home, we stayed for a few days in Frankfurt, Germany.
Now, please hear me when I say that I enjoyed this trip. We saw castles, we did a river cruise, we ate insanely good food, and we enjoyed time just the two of us. But, as I look back on that trip, I realize how much of it I missed out on because both my head and my heart were focused elsewhere. I was completely consumed by having just left my sons in the absolute worst of conditions. We had just left our eight-pound four-month-old who desperately needed to get home with us to see a doctor. We had just left our almost two year old who was scared to death of everything, and we wanted nothing more than to help him find some peace. So, while on a dream of a vacation, I was consumed with something else, and I missed out on the joy of that time in Germany. Have you ever experienced something incredible and then later realized you actually “missed it”?
I often feel this way at Christmas time. I can allow myself to get so consumed with parties, gifts, travel, decorations, and whatever else comes with the holiday that I don’t fully focus on, bask in, and celebrate the absolute JOY of Christmas: Jesus. Do you ever feel this way?
Now, please don’t hear me directly comparing my being consumed by the thoughts of my children to being consumed each Christmas by the festivities. This analogy only goes so far! I had every good reason to be consumed by the thought of my kids! However, there was an incredible experience to take in while in Germany; it was right in front of me, and I missed it! Each Christmas, it’s easy to lose focus, get consumed by other things, and end up missing out on Him.
May we never lose focus on God’s love for you and I being so extreme that He sent His Son for us. This is why we celebrate Christmas!
For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6, CSB
As you ponder this verse, I’d encourage you to think on these five questions:
- How has Christ been your Wonderful Counselor as you sought His wisdom?
- In what area of life do you desperately need your Mighty God?
- What does it mean to you personally that you have an Eternal Father?
- How does the Prince of Peace affect how you approach each day?
- How will you respond today to the Son of God, who has come for you?
May we not lose focus this Christmas. May we respond to the gift of Christ. May we respond in worship that our Savior has arrived! May we speak these truths to our children. May we, as men, lead and point our family and friends to Jesus. Parties, presents, decorations, good food, and all of those things that come with this day are fun, and let’s enjoy them, but let us not become so consumed by it all that we lose focus and miss out on Jesus.
Merry Christmas, men!