Baking, cleaning the house, buying presents, wrapping presents, transporting or sending presents, crowds, kids home on break, big gatherings, working, picking Christmas Eve outfits, shopping, working with charities, traveling . . . .
Honestly, it gets to be a lot. My prayer is that focusing on God in the ways I’ve talked about over the last couple of weeks will bring some sanity and joy to your Christmas season. (See this post, if you’re not feeling joyful: (becoming) joyful.)
Today, though, I want to talk a little more about joy – and why our joy so important not just for us, but also for those around us.
Even those of us who are very joyful about Christ’s birth, seeing family, buying presents, etc., can find December overwhelming. I think this overwhelmed feeling is indicative of losing sight of the real point of all of this: Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. –Luke 2:11
This is good news of great joy! And if we’ve lost the joy, we’ve probably lost sight of this good news.
[An important caveat: As I said in the previous post about joy, I’m not talking here about people who are truly grieving. I’m not qualified to talk about what it’s like to go through a holiday season after the death of a loved one. So please know that I’m not saying that if you’re grieving this December, then you’re doing something wrong. I’m talking more, in this post, about those of us who often go through the typical activities of the season joylessly, without a clear reason and often without understanding why.]
With that caveat in mind, I’ll say it again: Jesus’s birth is good news of great joy! And if we’ve lost the joy, we’ve probably also lost sight of this good news.
In these moments of feeling overwhelmed, I’ve found it helpful to ask myself a question: In what way is my concern about this thing/situation celebrating the good news of Jesus’s birth?
This is an especially good question for things like deciding what the family will wear for Christmas Eve services. Is it honoring Jesus for all of us to go with a green color scheme? Or, instead, is it satisfying some need I have to present my family in a certain way? I’m not saying dressing up (coordinated or not) for Christmas Eve services is wrong. (I usually dress up, too.) I am saying, however, that if it starts to take much time or make me feel overwhelmed or make me less joyful, then I may need to walk away from it. Jesus will still be born if we wear jeans.
And it’s important to remember that what we’re concerned about regarding Christmas lets other people know what aspect of the season is important to us.
If we make a big fuss about what we wear to Christmas Eve service and get cranky with our families, what message does that give them (and other people) about Jesus’s birth? Probably that it’s a stuffy formal occasion, that pleasing God involves rules about clothes, and that Jesus’s birth makes people cranky and nervous.
I’d much rather people saw my celebration of Christmas and got the message that Christmas is about thanking God for and celebrating the arrival of the greatest gift of all time, that God cares more about our hearts than our clothes, and that Jesus’s birth makes people joyful!
What is your attitude telling people about Jesus’s birth?
Want to read more?
Want to read about wives? Wife Series
Want to read about being a Christian? Fully-submitted Series
Start of the stewardship series: (becoming) a good steward
Start of the role model series: (becoming) a role model, part one
Start of the wisdom series: (becoming) wise, part one
Start of the Proverbs 6 series: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6
Start of the Christmas series: (becoming) peaceful
Are you a worrier? Try this post: (becoming) less of a worrier