Make a list. Check it twice. Shop. Clean. Decorate. Clean again. Please don’t let the dogs in. Clean again. Where is that receipt? Add friend to list. Shop again. Cook for event at church. Send that back to Amazon. Cook for other event at church. Adult choir practice. Kids choir practice. It’s okay–school will be out soon, and then we can enjoy Christmas. It’s Christmas Eve??? How did that happen?
Do you sometimes feel that you can’t enjoy the holidays because you are rushing around trying to do so many things–shopping and decorating, cooking and cleaning, attending parties and school programs. Most of us would agree that all of these are good things, but we just wish we could slow down and enjoy them more.
And then I think about my friends who have lost loved ones or been through divorce or are battling cancer this Christmas. The joy we talk about seems elusive to them. Decorating is the furthest thing from their minds. They are just trying to get through each moment.
I guess my question is this: Why do we do it all? Is the holiday activity for us or for Him? I have come to the conclusion that very little of what I do at Christmas is out of worship for the One whose coming I’m celebrating. Maybe that’s why I feel a little holy discontent each Christmas.
So this year, I want to give gifts that mean something to the one who receives. I want to bake for others–someone who is too lonely or too sad to bake for themselves. I want to sing the songs of Christmas to the broken and hurting that they might know that there is hope in Jesus. I want to decorate for someone who can’t put up his own tree. I want to share the joy of the season with someone who doesn’t think she has a reason to sing.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy” (Isaiah 9:2-3, NIV).
“For unto us a child is born…” (9:6).
For those who are hurting this holyday, I’m praying every moment God tugs on my heart for His light to shine into their darkness. And I’m asking Him to give them moments of joy. For truly, He alone is the Counselor and the Prince of Peace to meet them right where they are.
“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6).
And when Christmas Eve arrives, I’m planning to sit at the feet of Jesus and pour out my love to Him. I want to worship the One who left the glory of heaven to arrive in the womb of a girl so that I could know Him forever. I want my family to gather together in prayer and worship as we focus our hearts on God’s coming to earth.
That might still sound like a busy schedule, but I bet it comes with a little Christmas joy–the kind that arrives, not wrapped in bows or flowing from stockings, but straight out of heaven into the hearts of those who cling to Jesus.
Won’t you join me?