Did it ever occur to you how crazy it is that we cram three major holidays into a 37 day period of time? We race from Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Years in a sprint that can cause us to feel tired and out of breath!
Does it ever seem like we have missed the joy of these holidays by our frantic desire to do so much and start so early to fill them up so full? Sometimes I think I am, and maybe you are too, my own worst enemy as I feel compelled for ‘tradition’s sake’ to meet everyone’s expectations! Maybe I am more susceptible than most since I am pastor and a mother/wife! I frequently wonder how I can meet all these expectations! However, I don’t think I am alone in facing these challenges.
Living as Jesus’ Followers
If we are Christ’s followers, Jesus is the reason for our joy, life, hope and all our blessings of eternal life. As one pastoral colleague mentioned to me that there is no Biblical mandate for all the trappings of our Christmas holiday season – nowhere in scripture do we find Christmas trees, lights, big Christmas dinners, Advent wreaths, etc. Thanksgiving was designed as a day to give thanks. And New Year’s Eve celebrates the change from one year to the next in the secular calendar.
What Does Jesus Say?
Maybe if we look closer at Jesus’ life we will find inspiration about how to live in this season. When we read Jesus, we find he did not rush. He kindly showed Martha that in her frenzy to cook a big dinner for everyone, she had become distracted by many things and forgotten just how important Mary’s place was listening to him. Jesus made time on his way to heal a little girl, to stop when he felt the power go out of him. He wanted to find whoever had touched his robe and received his power for healing so that he could bless that woman before continuing on his way. Jesus was not moved by the tyranny of urgent to stone the woman caught in the act of adultery instead he knelt and drew on the ground. When Jesus gave his disciples instructions where and how to prepare the Passover, a very big holiday dinner, on the day of the dinner, he, himself took time to kneel and wash his disciples’ feet. And Jesus always seemed to find time to notice or bless the children.
What If Less Is Really More?
What is taking our time this week or in the next several weeks? Is our schedule so overbooked that we hardly have time to say ‘thanks’ or remember why we are grateful? Are we aware of God’s goodness to us in Jesus in the midst of each of these holidays? Or are we just too exhausted from shopping, cooking, cleaning and our preparations? How do we lessen our load? What if there are others doing all the preparations, could we help them so they could do less and enjoy more? What if we choose to be involved in the parts of the holiday that we enjoy so we have time to rest and share the joy? What if less is really more?
Jesus Is Our Peace
Jesus did not ever expect us to become debt laden, stressed out, tired and needing another vacation after preparations for giving thanks, celebrating his birth and welcoming the new year. Let us try to celebrate in honor of Jesus this year in our preparations and truly experience his presence as we rest in and receive his peace.
Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!