I have to admit, I had gotten caught up in it. You know, the hustle and bustle and craziness that can overcome a person at this time of year. For lots of reasons, I was not prepared ahead of time and Christmas seemed to sneak up on me. All of a sudden, it was December and I was not ready.
I felt stressed. I felt pressure to “get it all done.” In that state, I slipped away from focusing. I was talking a good game – reminding my kids that Christmas is all about Jesus, but on the outside looking in at me, you would never have known because I was still stressing about wrapping presents, addressing Christmas cards and mailing boxes, not to mention decorating the house.
In the midst of all this bustle, we heard an announcement at church that there was a Christmas concert. I thought, there’s no way we can cram one more thing into the schedule. But, I felt a nudge in my spirit – make the time.
Last night, we hurried through dinner and jumped in the car to go. The kids were arguing and I am fighting a cold – not the best attitudes going in. But that is where God fills us up when we need it most. Almost immediately, I relaxed. Seeing our wonderful church family calmed me down. Then, the music started. Everything that I had been stressing over began to fall away as we turned our full attention to the true meaning of Christmas.
Oh, how I needed that! As the night went on, there were tears, laughter and pure joy. I felt refreshed and refocused. Don’t you love how God does that? In the middle of all the stress, He reminded me that the true gift of His one and only Son is the only thing I need to be thinking about this time of year. And there is no packaging, mailing or decorating necessary. He is perfect as is.
As I unwrap that thought more, I remember that there is no gift that could be more perfect. Amid all the seasonal stresses are the realities of everyday life. Things that can easily threaten our joy and hope, if we are not careful. But, focusing on Jesus and how He, the only human who ever CHOSE to be born, did so in order to bear the burden of MY sins so that I may have life everlasting with Him, takes all those life issues and puts them in their proper perspective.
Every year, my kids make a gift for their grandparents. We had been talking about what to do this year when we watched a DVD focused on Christmas and the true gift of Jesus. The title was “The Twelve Words of Christmas,” by Louie Giglio. The picture was so real and vivid that we knew what this year’s gift was going to be, a painting of that first Christmas. I may have had myself stressed out over all the non-essentials of the holiday season, but the kids were able to create the true meaning in one, simple image. I pray we never lose sight of it.