Noel, Noel

It’s Christmas . . . the season where everyone wants to gather; everyone wants to celebrate and be cheerful. We want to bake cookies, sing songs, and spend time with family. But then, reality kicks in. There’s the stress of coordinating schedules, tension between family members, bad traffic and our wallets get emptier and emptier  – all in the name of “holiday cheer”.

How does this happen; how can the holidays feel so …. uncheerful sometimes?

We just talk ourselves into being happy because we’re supposed to be cheerful! It’s a festive time! It’s OK if we have to drive across town because Aunt Sarah decided to change dinner to her house at the last minute, because it’s Christmas. No big deal to drop $57 on your best friend’s friend because you accidentally got sucked into a gift exchange – even though rent is due next week – because it’s Christmas. Sure, you can show up to volunteer at the soup kitchen, and church on Christmas Eve, and you can probably make it to feed the homeless on Christmas night. . . because it’s  . . . CHRISTMAS. So that makes all these things, all these exceptions, all these ridiculous commitments, OK?! Because it’s the “holiday season” – which obviously means we must do every. single. thing. and put on a smile with red lipstick even when we are drop dead exhausted and kind of want to cry all the makeup off our face.

But what if instead, Joy became the reality of this season?  Can we realize that the reason for this season, Jesus, is also the reason for the rest of the year? Making Him the priority of the holidays is the only way we can get the most of it. If we conjure up the image of a precious baby lying in a manger, surrounded by darkness except for the divinely aligned stars, the power of simple peace will overwhelm you. Imagine the sweet boy who came to save you sleeping quietly, only to be awakened by the lowing of his daddy’s donkey. If we could even begin to grasp the awe, joy, and love that overwhelmed Mary that night, how much would the attitude of our hearts be changed? Just the thought makes my heart pause, and release with joy.

He wants your heart, and He wants your focus. The mad, furious Love that’s pursuing you can’t, and won’t settle for anything less. Peace, Joy, Love, Hope; all the pretty words we see printed on Christmas cards and hung in store windows can be your gifts, your reality. When the reason for the season becomes your reason for living then life and the holidays can be fun, and joyful, again.





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