This Christmas season has felt particularly taxing. And ya know what’s extra frustrating about that? I even got all of my Christmas shopping done before December 1!
I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to make this the most enjoyable holiday – and yet.
What’s that old saying, something about if you have the time, the time will fill?
Well, I don’t know if that’s officially a saying, but it should be. And I have a feeling you know what I mean. Somehow, despite my best efforts of planning for this holiday to be stress free, the stress has found me.
Shopping. Family. Friends. Travel. Events. Work. Commitments. Hopes. Expectations. Life.
Somewhere in the midst of it all – and let me assure you, none of these things on their own are bad – I got lost. Somewhere along the way, the purpose shifted. Suddenly, it wasn’t about caring about these things because they are fulfilling and honor Christmas through sharing and giving and fellowship. Suddenly, it was about me.
And the second it became about me was also the second that it became stress.
I wonder why?
Maybe because last time I checked, the holiday isn’t called Alyssa-mas. It’s Christ-mas.
Hold on, hear me out. I know the whole “keep Christ in Christ-mas” has become a little trite. But when you really think about the meaning, and not just the cliche, how can we not acknowledge it? How can we not pause?
Isaiah 9:6 tells us about Christ’s birth (the true reason we celebrate Christmas btw), “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Do you ever read those descriptive words of Christ and just feel a calm wash over you? How humbling it is to think that someone who can justly claim all of those incredible titles also cares about little old selfish me. Not only cares, but left the perfection and glory of His rightful place at the right hand of God to deal with all of us down here on earth and then die a tortuous death on a cross for me. Even though He did nothing to deserve it and a majority of the time I take His sacrifice for granted.
Christmas – Christ’s birth – set into motion God’s perfect action plan for rescuing all of creation from the darkness that prevails here on earth. And I still find a way to make it about me.
But it’s not too late. Thank God, that it is never too late for Him.
Christmas is still a few days away and I plan to strive for peace, not perfection. I plan to give everything I can of myself to others, rather than expecting others to give to me. I plan to focus on my Savior, not my circumstances.
It’s hard y’all. This letter is not my challenge to you, not my holier than thou aspirations – it’s my reminder that there is no fulfillment in myself. There is no joy. And there may be unmet expectations and there may be disappointment along the way. But if I let Christmas pass by without regaining focus on the purpose – honoring and praising our King – I will lose much more than my time, relationships, and material possessions.
Christ entered our home that first Christmas to redeem us and fill us with enduring Hope, I pray that we let Him.