Monday, November 9, 2009

Holiday Spirit

If you are gaga about Christmas, you might not want to read this. You've been warned. But then, if you are gaga about Christmas, you might have some words of wisdom for me.

I'm not big on Christmas. No, I don't think that makes me Scrooge. Actually, I'm fine with everyone else being all Christmas. Generally, I try not to tear it down. I listen to people who are all excited, but I generally try to refrain from commenting. (Yes, this is an exception!)

I just think that the holidays are hard for a lot of people:

  • Maybe there is a loss associated with the holiday
  • Maybe they are lonely
  • Maybe it causes a lot of financial stress
  • Maybe they work retail where the holiday spirit is really more like a feeding frenzy and you ask someone if they want to donate to the holiday book drive and you get snarled at. (Not that anything like that has ever happened to me!)
  • Maybe people are far away from family
  • Maybe 100% Christmas music (30 different renditions of Jingle Bells in one day) just grates.
  • Maybe all the activity makes someone dizzy
  • Maybe things get lost in the shuffle
  • It could be any number of things
I wish I loved the holiday season. I really do. I'd love to be swept away by it. But then, I don't really get swept away by much.

I struggle with the holiday season, but I do love the meaning of it. I love the word Emmanuel, God with us. I learned once that literally it means that God pitched His tent among us. I love that idea. He made His home with us.

And I love that Jesus came in the dark of night. I love that His birth ended 400 years of relative silence from when the Old Testament ends and Jesus is born. I love that Jesus was born in a manger. Some of it is nostalgia from my horse riding days. I know that stables are smelly places, but there is a warmth there too. In terms of the big picture, a stable was a place where even shepherds could go unimpeded. Jesus came to the common man, not just the rich or the kings.

Mostly, I love what I imagine would have been a pause among all creation, when Jesus struggled into the world, and let out that first cry, and then was snuggled close. I love that Jesus knew comfort that way. I love that in the prodigal son, the father ran to hug his son. And though the cross was cruel, I love that Jesus chose to throw open his arms for all eternity because he wants to gather us close and never let go.

I struggle with the holidays for lots of reasons. But I love the meaning behind it. So, I'm praying that the peace of being held close to Jesus would prevail over the chaos and even the anxiety I am already beginning to feel.


1 comment:

Joyful said...

Well, I'm one of those annoying happy, jolly Christmas people. I love Christmas, but stress out over the expectations...the Christmas cards...Christmas Christmas dinner etc...

Until about two years ago, you would find me at Emergency between Christmas and New Years. The stress of the holiday would always take it's toll on me. A couple of years ago we changed things up a bit so that I didn't host the big Christmas dinner ON Christmas day. We now have all the family about a week before Christmas, leaving Christmas day for a quieter, relaxing day.

One year I didn't write my Christmas devotional, but boy, I heard about that one. Being a people pleaser that devotional has resumed.

Always desiring for Christ to be the center of my focus every day,