Today I heard someone say, “I think we’re all just trying to get through the holidays.”
Just trying to get through them? Hasn’t anyone ever told you it just happens to be the greatest time of the year? Haven’t you ever heard the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” where the lyrics say, “it’s the hap-happiest season of all?” There is truth to that, you know?
The Savior of the world was born on Christmas Day. Our Savior! God in flesh came to earth to begin his thirty three years on planet earth, only to end his tenure by sacrificing everything for the salvation of our souls and forgiveness of our sins. Christmas Day, the celebration of the birth of the One True Sacrifice! I happen to think that is more than plenty of a reason to celebrate the holidays, not just survive them.
Perhaps what is lacking is perspective.
I get it. We are all busy. The holiday preparation adds to the long list of things we must do prior to Christmas and sometimes the long list is enough to paralyze people with fear and anxiety. Gifts need to be bought, parties need to be planned, meals need to be prepared, travel is often inevitable. All of these things in addition to an already busy life can seem overwhelming… if you let it.
What if, instead of looking at your list and panicking, you looked at your list and promised to change your perspective? What if you decided to change the mindset in which you completed the tasks?
What if you let go of the self-imposed burden you’ve placed on yourself and actually focused on love. When you are out finishing your Christmas shopping, think not of the list you need to knock out, but instead of the joy giving brings to your life and to the recipient’s life.
When you are planning your party, think not of the long list of things you need to clean, prepare, and organize, but instead of what Jesus taught us about communing together – particularly around a meal. Gatherings (like holiday gatherings) bring people together. As you gather with family or friends or those at a homeless shelter or whomever you choose to gather with this holiday season, think of the condition of your heart and those surrounding you. Allow your heart to be filled with love by those around you this holiday season.
When you are preparing the Christmas feast, think not of how you’ve slaved long and hard over the meal for everyone else to enjoy, but instead think of the way a meal – crafted with love – brings people together. A special bond is built as people gather around food, just as Jesus showed us at The Last Supper.
When you begin your holiday travel, think not of the chaos you might encounter at the airport or the traffic on the roads, or the long, arduous hours you must stay awake in order to get to your destination, but instead think of the miles and the circumstances as a bridge which leads you to your loved ones.
During the last week of this Advent season, I pray you will be blessed with a patient, loving heart. I pray your heart and mind may open to a new perspective and you may call on the reasons you might have for why you prepare in the way you do for the holidays. May you wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior and when He does come, I pray you might focus on being more like Mary and less like Martha. Be (with your heart, mind, body, and soul) in the presence of the Lord.
I suspect if we strive to prepare for Christmas in this way, we won’t just be trying to ‘get through the holidays,’ but instead we will experience the real joy of the greatest gift we could have ever hoped for.
Laughs and Love,