In just under a week, kids will get up early and run through the house like tiny Ninjas attacking fancy paper monsters in order to reach the treasure inside. The anticipation in our home is building! Each night when I come home I’m given the day, minute and second countdown according to my daughter’s countdown ornament. Many of you are feeling pretty good about your Christmas and you’re ready to enjoy it no matter what comes your way. No fancy paper monster or family drama is going to get you down. You love Christmas and no one will steal that joy from you. Others of you aren’t as excited and, for you, Christmas comes with anxiety, fear and drama. You wonder if Christmas is even worth the trouble and, if you wouldn’t be labeled a scrooge for it, you would state so regularly.
I understand, I am a recovering scrooge myself. I never saw the value of all the fuss. Christmas seemed to lack substance. So I am sympathetic to that plight. I wonder though, if we could find a way to deal with the many stressors of Christmas could we uncover something pure, something beautiful, something with substance? If so, how can we deal with these issues? Certainly some pragmatic steps will help.
- Planning out our time so we aren’t in a mad rush up until Christmas Eve seems like a legitimate course of action.
- Agreeing as a family, and communicating to family, your Christmas plans.
- Making plans for the days prior to Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and any vacation days afterward.
- Being intentional about “beholding” Jesus Christ, the true meaning of Christmas.
- In the planning, finding time to rest and have fun.
- Making it your mission to love others sacrificially and extravagantly this week.
If you do these things you could alleviate many of the fights and stressors from your life this week. But it wouldn’t be a cure-all, and on some level I just don’t think it’s enough. The reason it isn’t enough is because the reason we get into the christmas funk isn’t all because of planning,, parties, presents and people. We like to think of all our challenges as being external but scripture points somewhere else for quality of life, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 When I am in a funk, although I hate to admit it at the time, there is often a idol issue. Idols are formed and dysfunction begins when we fail to believe the Gospel or apply it to something. Facing this reality will do us well in not just surviving the season but overcoming it!
Our Hearts=Idol Factories
Although we take vacations, God is always on duty. God is like a loving dentist. Our idols, wounds, and unbelief are like a bad tooth that God would like to free us from. He knows these idols are bad for us and His goal is to get rid of them. Christmas is a perfect time to assault our heavily entrenched idols. Either we slow down just enough for God to grab our attention and yank, or maybe it is the stressors that reveal our issues. Either way it seems that fear of man issues raise their head; trying to “measure up” and all other sorts of childhood “stuff” can get stirred.
Now I know it’s Christmas and you’re like “hey, we are on vacation and we don’t want to work or grow or anything like that.” I completely understand, so let’s keep it simple. Let’s find the courage to face four very simple realities and just hold still long enough for the loving hand of God to remove some idols with a quick pull.
God is good…………so I don’t have to look elsewhere for satisfaction
God is gracious …..so I don’t have to prove myself
God is great ………..so I can rest in His power
God is glorious ……so I don’t have to fear others
Have a blessed Christmas beholding the coming of Jesus Christ!