Each year we ring in the holiday season by attending dozens of holiday meetings. This Christmas committee, that planning event. Then we still have to make the rounds to every store in the metro-plex. 'Tis the season for weeks of ulcer-inducing meetings and shopping, then wrapping for about 72 straight hours. Christmas morning I find myself sitting around the tree with a glazed look and half a roll of tape stuck in my hair.
I stack three stories of gifts in front of each child. Within ten minutes we're up to our eyeballs in wrapping paper. I have five children. That's five three-story gift stacks and about 1200 yards of wrapping paper. Last year it took us three days to find the cat.
I was scanning for Christmas sales when I ran across an Internet ad: "100 FREE HOURS!" That's it! That's what I want for Christmas! Not the Internet service--just the hours. My holiday calendar could make grown men weep.
Even if we can't have a chestnut or two roasting on an open fire, it
seems we should at least be able to find time for some popcorn popping in the microwave. Visions of sugarplums? I don't think so. There hasn't been a silent night around our place since the season began.
Maybe we're being sucked in to the idea that we need to "super size" the holidays the same way we're tempted to upgrade every fast food lunch. We convince ourselves that to have a socially complete Christmas, we need to super-size our schedules--adding more, spending more, eating more. I'm popping Tums just thinking about it.
But let's take a look at the big Christmas picture. Jesus didn't come into the world so that we could enjoy a nice story about a reindeer. He didn't come so that our kids could put on a cute play.
Christ was born so that through his sacrificial death, we could be reconciled to a holy God. Emmanuel, "God With Us," came to pay our sin debt. Christmas is not for making us overworked and overwhelmed, but for celebrating how we have been made overcomers.
The season becomes a real celebration when we learn to rest in the faithful hands of the One who has overcome the world. Guess what we find when we rest in him: Peace! Jesus said in John 16:33, "...in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." The Lord has done the overcoming on our behalf. He's the one who gives peace. The only thing we truly need to work for is the resting ability.
If your holiday schedule is keeping you up nights and you'd like a
sleep in heavenly peace, maybe 'tis the season for saying some "no's"--for sanity's sake. As for that Internet ad, if someone could actually give me those extra 100 hours, what would I do with them? Would I cram them to the brim with more activities? The truth is that we have loads of time--24 hours every day. Focusing 24/7 on the God who provided Christmas is the way to find a fulfilling holiday season.
I've decided to take time to stop and smell the poinsettias--and find the cat.