On Friday, I confessed that I have an unusual fondness for the movie Elf. And proud of it sister! I was so glad to hear that many of you share my obsession as well. 🙂
I just love his attitude and his sense of Christmas spirit. I love his hilarious smile and his innocent perspective on life. I love his outlook on life 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 most favorite – it would have to be when the department store boss announces that Santa is coming. Watch it here:
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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, but also because I want that kind of enthusiasm about Jesus.
I cannot help but wonder how I would react if someone told me that Jesus was coming tomorrow at 10:00am.
I can 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 coming that I will never forget.
I dreamt that I was standing alone in a field full of 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 ampitheatre, like the ones that would be found in biblical times.
I noticed that I was surrounded by hundreds of people who were slowly walking towards this venue, when all of the sudden, the wind grew stronger, and clouds began shifting into shapes and forms in the sky.
As I looked up into the bright blue sky, I saw a cloud slowly form into the shape of a shepherds staff. Then I perceived that the staff was gently bobbing up and down as it grew closer, as if an invisible hand were grasping it, raising it 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 “It’s Jesus! It’s Jesus! Jesus is coming!” Everyone was overjoyed and in awe of the fact 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!”.
Then suddenly, and way too abruptly, I woke up. The dream was over.
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 rest which would allow me to see the beautiful vision of Jesus right in front of me.
Jesus was coming – and I didnt get to see Him. I longed for the experience that I missed, even though it was only in my mind.
My sleep did not return, but the dream will never leave my heart.
Every time I watch this comical movie clip from Elf, I am reminded about how exciting it will be when Jesus really does return. I cannot wait to exclaim that “I know Him!”; and to hear Him say, that He knows me too.
But on the other hand, my heart weeps, for all those who do not know Him, and who cannot even fathom what it might be like to truly believe that Jesus is coming back.
For people that do not believe He is who says He is. I feel sad for people who celebrate empty Christmases, filled only with presents and decorations and parties – outward examples of what should be an inward celebration.
Last week I focused on the positive attitude of Elf, and how he gives us a great example for modeling our own attitudes.
Today, my focus is on his enthusiasm, and how our enthusiasm should mirror that of Elf’s – Outwardly. Inwardly. Spiritually.
Outward enthusiasm for life is critical. It is an attitude of thankfulness and joy that we can portray to others. Our enthusiasm for life becomes a banner of that “something more” that we have inwardly, and it can be extremely contagious to others, in a good way, of course.
Inward enthusiasm for Jesus is necessary, before people can see our outward enthusiasm. What does it matter if we put on a fake smile every day, but miss out on true joy that Christ offers? Will people “catch” our spiritual enthusiasm, if we do not live out our beliefs?
We are created with a special place in our hearts for enthusiasm for Jesus. He did not come so we could be ‘happy’, but so that we could live a life that is abundant, filled with joy, peace and true happiness from the inside out.
He did not come so that we would have a perfect life, but so that we could lean on Him when life got tough.
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 our own spiritual enthusiasm.
In the spirit of Christmas, and the spirit of enhancing our walk with Christ as we celebrate that we know Him, lets put ourselves to the test. Here are a few self assessment questions that we can each ask ourselves:
– 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 material and commercialized things about Christmas?
– Have I become so caught up in living 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?
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!
At the very end of this movie, the narrator says this: “So Buddy managed to saved Christmas. And his spirit saves a lot of other people too.”
His enthusiasm for Christmas was contagious to the people around him.
Our outward enthusiasm for Jesus is not only an indication of our inward spiritual enthusiasm, but just maybe, it can be contagious to a lot of other people too.
Christ is coming!!!! Are you excited?! Are you showing it?!