Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year – except when it isn’t.
Sure, there are tons of Christmas programs, Christmas parties, Christmas light displays, Christmas cookies, Christmas shopping, etc.
But if you are anything like me, usually about this time into the season, I get burned out, overwhelmed with all the commitments we made for ourselves back when our schedules were lighter, and Christmas seemed like an exciting future possibility.
So from one frazzled, Christmas-weary mom to another, I give you permission to give yourself a break.
It’s okay if you decide to not bake dozens of Christmas cookies with the kids this year. They’ll survive!
It’s okay if you don’t attend every single party your friends are hosting. Good friends will understand!
It’s okay if you don’t light up the outside of your house this year. You’ll be thankful when you see your electrical bill in January!
Somehow, along the way, we have forgotten the simplicity of Christmas. Being married to Mr. Christmas himself, I know that is true at our house! Sometimes I have to be the one to say “no” just to rein my husband in from his own Christmas crazy.
Christmas is such a special time of year. It’s a time for us to gather together with friends and family. It’s a time to look back at all we have accomplished throughout the year and look forward to a new year. It’s a time when things seem magical (probably because everything is lit up and sparkly!).
But can we just step back a minute and take back Christmas? Can we get back to the original meaning for the season?
Two thousand years ago, a poor carpenter and his pregnant wife traveled many miles on a donkey to pay their taxes. I’m sure that traveling in her condition on rocky roads on a dirty animal was probably the least wonderful thing she could have done at that time!
Let’s think about these two people – the only ones at the time who knew that they were preparing to welcome the Messiah into the world. They hadn’t lived together as husband and wife yet, and here they were making a long journey together. The circumstances hardly seemed ideal.
While most moms-to-be have the excitement of their family and friends to encourage and support them, Mary had no one except Joseph. Without his support, she would have been stoned to death (which was legal at the time for unwed mothers)!
Think about what their journey would have been like. All alone in the world with no one else to understand their situation, barely knowledgeable of each other, heading to pay an unbearable tax, and finding no room for them anywhere.
I don’t know about you, but suddenly, all these little things that are stressing me out about Christmas are starting to feel, well, rather silly.
The first Christmas began in a stable. The party-goers? Cattle, sheep, some dirty, unknown shepherds, and the host and hostess. I don’t think they had rum balls or crab dip or even fruit cake at that party!
But the angels sang – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Lk. 2:14).
It was the most glorious Christmas of all because Christ had come – not as a King as the Jews thought He would, but as a lowly baby, completely dependent on His parents to meet His needs.
Although we celebrate His wondrous birth at the wrong time of year, it’s still a time of remembrance of what He gave up to come to earth, live amongst us, and die for our sins.
His birth, the first Christmas ever, was simple. There weren’t a lot of lights – except the lights from heaven. There were no parties to attend, no gifts to unwrap, no programs to video. There was just peace and love.
So, Mama, if you are feeling stressed this Christmas, can I encourage you to take Christmas back? Say no to some things and spend time with the One whose birth we are celebrating.
If you are so busy with extracurricular activities that you don’t even have time for personal time in God’s Word, then you are too busy.
If you are exhausted by your to-do list, then your to-do list is too long.
If you are losing your temper more often with your children, then your priorities have gotten mixed up.
Take a breath.
Christ didn’t come to earth for presents or lights or parties. He came because He loves you. He came to bring peace. He came to give you hope.
That’s why we celebrate Christmas.
“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” – John 3:17.