Tuesday, December 13, 2011


As I mentioned yesterday, I love Buddy the Elf's attitude and his sense of Christmas spirit. I love his hilarious smile and his innocent perspective on life. I love his outlook on innocence and love.

But most of all - above all else - I love his enthusiasm.

If I had to pick one scene from the movie as my very most favorite - it would have to be when the department store boss announces that Santa is coming to the store. Watch that clip below:

(email subscribers may need to visit my homepage to view the movie clip)

Hahaha! Okay, maybe something is wrong with me. I just love that clip so much! And not only because it is funny and makes a huge grin sweep across my face uncontrollably (because smiling is my favorite), but also because I long for that kind of enthusiasm - for Jesus.

I cannot help but wonder how I would react if someone told me that Jesus was coming tomorrow at 10:00am.

Even though I feel sure that a flood of thoughts would race through my mind in a flurry of emotions, I can also envision myself jumping up and down with excitement, bellowing out and screaming "Jeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssss!!! I know him! I know him! Yeah!".

Several years ago, I kind of experienced a situation like that, when I had a dream about Jesus. I typically dream in vivid color and detail, and usually remember my dreams, and this one was no different.

On this particular night, I dreamed that I was standing alone in a field full of swaying, tall grasses and beautiful flowers, with a cool breeze blowing on my face. Off in the distance, my eyes caught a glimpse of a large Greek-style amphitheatre, like the ones that existed in biblical times.

Then suddenly,  I was surrounded by hundreds of people who were slowly walking towards this venue. I began to walk with the crowd, as I meandered along, not knowing exactly where we were all going,  the wind began to grow stronger, and clouds began morphing into various shapes and forms in the sky.

As I looked up into the bright blue sky, squinting and shading my eyes with my hand, I saw a cloud slowly transform into the shape of a shepherds staff. Then, it appeared that the staff was gently bobbing up and down as it grew closer, as if an invisible hand were grasping it, raising it up each time they took a step forward.

As the staff grew closer and larger than life, I heard people around me begin to yell out with excited voices, "It's Jesus! It's Jesus! Jesus is coming!" Everyone was overjoyed and in awe that Jesus was about to arrive.

Even though it was merely a dream, I can vividly remember the overwhelming enthusiasm and excitement that bubbled up in my entire body, causing my heart to feel as if it were overflowing with uncontrollable joy. I even remember my face feeling red and hot, and my heart beating fast, thumping hard in my chest.

I felt so overcome with the joy and anticipation of seeing Jesus, that I could barely breathe. I had the urge to spastically jump up and down and scream at the top of my lungs, just like Elf did in the scene about Santa, and chant "I know Him! I know Him!", but in my dream state, I felt speechless.

Then suddenly, and way too abruptly, I woke up. The dream was over. But my heart was still beating rapidly, and the experience seemed acutely real.

For a few solemn seconds, as I lay there in the quietness of a dark house before daylight, I tried desperately to go back to sleep; to transport my brain waves back into a deep slumber, in the hopes that I would see the beautiful vision of Jesus right in front of me. Yet, I was wide awake.

My heart felt heavy. Jesus was coming - I was almost close enough to touch Him, but I didn't even get to see His face. I longed for the experience that I missed, even though it was only a dream.

This dream had such an impact on my heart, that I will never forget it. And every time I watch this comical movie clip from Elf, I am reminded about how exciting it will be when Jesus really does return, or when I meet Him face to face in heaven. I cannot wait to exclaim that "I know Him!"and hear Him say, that He knows me too.

Knowing how wonderful it will be makes my heart ache even more for all those who do not know Jesus; all the people who do not believe that they will one day meet Jesus face to face.

I feel sad for people who celebrate empty Christmases, filled only with presents and decorations and parties - without ever acknowledging why tthere is a celebration in the first place.

Yesterday I focused on the positive attitude of Elf, and today my focus is on his enthusiasm, and how our spiritual enthusiasm for Jesus should be inward and outward.

Inward enthusiasm for Jesus is necessary, before we can display an outward enthusiasm that is contagious to others, just like our attitude. After all, what does it matter if we put on a fake smile every day, but miss out on the true joy that Christ offers? Will people "catch" our spiritual enthusiasm, if we don't live out loud for Jesus?

This is a wonderful time of year to contemplate how important our faith really is in our life. A time to do a self assessment, and rate our own spiritual enthusiasm.

In the spirit of Christmas, and the spirit of enhancing our walk with Christ as we celebrate our relationship, lets put ourselves to the test:

- Am I really, genuinely enthusiastic about my spiritual journey?
- Am I still overwhelmed with gratitude for Gods gift of life, or have I begun to take it for granted?
- Do I really make Christ the center of my Christmas, or have I inadvertently become more focused on the commercialization about Christmas?
- Have I become so caught up in dealing with life, that I have buried the enthusiasm that I once held for Christ in my heart?
- Is my spiritual enthusiasm being fueled by ALL of my heart, soul and mind?
- Do I really KNOW HIM, or just know about Him?
- Does He really know me?
- How would I feel and react if I met Jesus face to face tomorrow?

Matthew 22:37 says “Jesus replied:‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment." (NIV)

If we truly love Jesus with ALL of our being.... seriously.... we would not be able to contain our enthusiasm! We would be jumping up and down with the same level of excitement as the Elf was about Santa! We might get a few stares and smirks, but who really cares!

At the very end of this movie, the narrator says this: "So Buddy managed to save Christmas. And his spirit saves a lot of other people too."

His enthusiasm for Christmas was contagious to the people around him, and he 'saved' them from themselves. Only Jesus can truly save in real life, but our enthusiasm for Him can open to the door to the hearts that need the saving.

Christ is coming!!!! Are you excited?! Are you showing it?!

Make smiling your favorite this Christmas!! :)

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Toni said...

Thank you Tracie for what I consider your best article ever! I too dream of Jesus coming back, but without the enthusiasm I should have. Will I shout for joy? I hope so, but I know for sure I will be oh so relieved when He comes for us. Relieved to finally be done with the heartache of life and constant struggles not only for myself, but for countless others I see struggling to survive.
The first post about Elf (for some reason they came as one) also gave me pause in remembering the joy and enthusiasm I once had. I was once like Elf in finding joy in the simplest things, but the last few years seem to have beaten the joy right out of me. Not that I do not still have a joyful spirit, but it isn’t nearly as bright as it once was. I pray for others all the time to see and find joy in the little things of life. I guess it’s time to start praying this for myself too. Thank you again Tracie, I needed this today.
In His embrace,

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie! I love the movie Elf also! I hav'nt watched it yet this Christmas season but now I can't wait to see it again!
Speaking of smiling, I'm a smiler!When I'm out shopping if I make eye contact with someone I try to always smile. The sad thing is that I rarely ever get a smile back from a stranger. I like the old saying, "If you see someone without a smile, give them yours".

Blessings & Merry Christmas
Janet W.
P.S. Keep on smiling!!!!

Patsy M Moore said...

This is my first time to read your articles and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them for this week.
I leave my Bible on a living room table open to the Christmas Story in Matthew the whole month of December with a beautiful read bookmark. This helps to remind me and any visitors what we celebrate this month. Then on Christmas Eve when my entire family is in my home, one of my 4 grandsons reads the Story before we open gifts.