Christmas. The time of year when we decorate our homes with lights and trees, bake all the yummy treats, attend all the parties, buy all the presents, perhaps find time to help someone in need, and wear the stretchy pants in anticipation of extra holiday pounds. Oh yeah, and we remember the birth of our savior, the one who was sent to show us how to live and to ultimately die for us. Yes, we do that too. As I write this I am hoping that maybe, just maybe, there is at least one lady out there that can relate to some Christmas struggles. Perhaps I am not the only one who, despite my love of all things Christmas, finds herself stressed in this season of blessed craziness. If you have ever felt lost, lonely, overwhelmed, or maybe just felt like your focus is not where it should be during this time of year, keep reading, there is hope for all of us!
The story of Jesus’ birth has some lessons for us, I believe, that we can use in our approach to this season. I have decided that this year, Christmas will be different for me and my family. I am going to make every attempt to keep our hearts in the right place, and ensure the peace and joy that this season should bring actually is evident in our home. Here’s how:
1. Keep it simple, like Jesus did. We all do so much this time of year. Some of it is good, and some of it is just plain unnecessary. When a baby is born today, we shower the parents with gifts. The parents-to-be prepare magnificent rooms for these little babies and fill their homes with all sorts of baby-holding and baby-entertaining devices. Jesus, the king of kings, was wrapped in rags and placed in a manger. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a beautiful room for your child, or having a perfectly decorated home for the holidays. I do, however, recognize that sometimes I get carried away. The story of Christmas is about one thing, Christ’s entrance into and presence in this world. That is what Christmas should be for us. This year, I am planning in advance and making sure that I am not stretching myself and my family too thin. I am making simplicity a priority. We will go to the parties and do the things, but you’ll have to forgive me if we bring a store-bought dessert rather than home-baked. We are keeping it simple in our family.
2. Do what you feel called to do. The story of Jesus coming to this earth is full of people being humbly obedient to God’s calling on their lives. David was obedient and as a result God declared David’s offspring would be God’s own son, and his house would endure forever (2 Samuel 7:11-15). If we are obedient, we get to be a part of that legacy too. I challenge myself to look for God’s calling on my life this season, and I challenge you to do the same. When we find it, we should just do it. Don’t let the busyness of the season distract or discourage you. Give to that charity a little more than you are comfortable giving. Be kind to that neighbor that you don’t like. Do something for someone that they didn’t even know they needed. Let’s follow the examples God laid out for us and do what He calls us to do.
3. Rejoice in all our blessings. Luke 1:46-55 tells of Mary’s song of rejoicing. After she finds out that she has been chosen by God to bring his son into the world, she sang a song of praise because she recognized God’s presence not only in her life, but throughout the history of his people. She rejoiced in his mercy, power, provision and blessings. She rejoiced because God saw her and chose her. I know that this season can be difficult sometimes. My own family has had a hard few months and there are several loved ones who will not be at our Christmas celebrations this year. While that is not easy, I am committed to rejoice even in loss and sadness because I have witnessed God’s mercy in these difficult times. Just like Mary, God has been present in my life and my family’s life, especially during the darkest times. He has been merciful and good to us. My hope is that all of us (you included) would know and rejoice in the fact that, just like Mary, God chooses us. He chose us to be his and to carry on his name. That is something to rejoice in ladies.
In Christmas’s past, I know I’ve been carried away by the nostalgia and distracted by all there is to do. I have felt relief when it is all said and done, because it can be so tiring. This year I want to be intentional about celebrating the birth of a savior, mine and yours. I want to invite that spirit of remembrance into everything we do. I want to keep my eyes and heart on the reason for the season, and allow the peace that only Jesus can bring to surround me and my family. I hope you will join me and wish you Christmas blessings, now and always.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14