We all know what the problem is. Every year the advertisements and shelves in the stores start filling up with Christmas items earlier and earlier each year. So much stress is added by competition and comparison. The self- imposed Martha Stewart mentality and ideas of having the perfect Pinterest holiday …are just that! What is perfect anyway? I found myself getting caught in the trap of “Cyber Monday”. Then there are all the added expectations of baking, cards, decorating, gifts, parties and programs. The pace quickens and the lists increase…. Soon we find that we are suffering stress from all the added activities instead of anticipating the joy of Advent!
I remember hearing that the three most important things to decorate at home for Christmas are 1. the front door 2. The tree and 3. something for your table . Ask yourself, “If I were away from home for Christmas, what is the ONE thing I would miss the most?” Let that be your “must have”. Try to limit extra obligations and keep a healthy balance in sleeping and eating and it will help decrease stress. We can control the pace!
We have a lot of friends and family that live far away from Washington to Florida and in-between and two years ago, we just did not get any Christmas cards out. I felt bad but nobody died- although I did get reprimanded by a few elderly friends. We try to enjoy the many free things that bring joy, such as our town’s Christmas parade and just driving around to view the Christmas lights in different neighborhoods.
Faith Hill sings a beautiful song in Jim Carey’s version of the Grinch , that says “Where are you Christmas , why can’t I find you? ” I think when we get caught up in the chaos we lose the peace of Christmas. Shalom means more than peace. It means a wholeness, a well-being in body, soul and spirit. The prophet Isaiah wrote,
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
We need to read and remember what Christmas is all about. The first people to hear the good news was a group of scruffy shepherds.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:8-14 (ESV)
We are celebrating the birth of the promised Messiah. We enjoy the traditions and celebration but it’s not about the decorations, presents or parties. Jesus is the reason for the season. He was born as a baby so we might approach Him. He grew up as a man so He could fully understand us. He died to pay the price for our sin and restore our relationship with God. But He rose on the third day to give us victory over death and hope for a future today and later with Him for eternity. We don’t have to keep up the pace. We can experience peace. Peace with God and peace within our hearts. Won’t you take a moment now and thank God for His wonderful gift?
I wish you all true peace this Christmas.