Originally published Friday, 14 December 2012.
Last year, the Christmas season was too busy to enjoy. At least, that’s what I told myself. We were in the middle of moving into a new home and life was anything but normal. We only set up the tree and we didn’t bother with much more. We’d prepare more next year, when life was calmer.
Apparently, “calmer” isn’t happening this year either. We aren’t moving, and that’s great, but life is just a different version of crazy. This Christmas we did finally manage to throw away our pumpkin
before as we were getting all of our decorations up and out. It’s as Christmasy as it’s going to get around here. But I’m noticing decorations aren’t all I need to feel prepared for Christmas. More than tinsel and bells, I need calmness of heart. And Unfortunately, they don’t sell this at Hobby Lobby.
Everything is faster paced during Christmas. But laundry doesn’t let up, everyone wants to keep eating meals, and eventually groceries and toilet paper run out. With all of the gifts to buy and wrap, parties to attend, and fun to be had, there is little time left to sit and ponder a baby in a manger. It’s easy to gloss over the coming of the long-expected Jesus, relegating the seasonal stories to a few family devotions and church on Sunday mornings. There’s just too much to do and too little time to do it and the Savior takes a backseat to sleigh bells.
Christmas shouldn’t be a time of stress and exhaustion. Instead, it is a time to reflect on God’s gift of love. If this season is stressful or the ways I’m choosing to celebrate Christmas are causing me grief and anxiety, then I’m doing something wrong. I don’t need to bake a billion cookies, impress all my neighbors with custom gifts, or throw a party with home baked goods to delight in the incarnation. The Holy Spirit has been preparing hearts to make room for Jesus long before icing and bows came into the picture.
This Christmas, don’t simply prepare your house for celebration. Prepare your heart. Whatever that looks like for you, make time for enjoying God’s gift of fullness through Christ. The Christmas season is intended to draw you closer to the Savior, not keep you too busy to come near. Give yourself a gift this year and say “no” to anything that’s separating you from the true joy of the season –Jesus.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30