For me, Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year, as the song says. Christmas cards, shopping for gifts, decorating, unending holiday parties, school programs… it’s enough to send even Martha Stewart over the edge. Ok, maybe not her because she definitely seems to have her act together but for me, a regular ol’ mom, it’s overwhelming. I find myself dreading it more & more each year & wishing we could just skip the whole thing altogether.
I walk through the stores as Christmas songs are blaring over the speakers, watching shoppers frantically searching for the perfect something that come January will be returned or forgotten. Emails continuously pop into my inbox luring me to buy because it’s 40% off today only. And I can’t forget my $10 gift that every group or class wants me to give, only $10 adds up quick when everyone & their mamas want you to give.
I wish I could make the hustle & bustle all around me stop. I long for peace. For quiet. For rest. Now would be a good time for me to win the lottery & buy that cabin in the woods to escape. Does Christmas time ever make you feel like this? I feel like I can’t be the only one who feels disillusioned.
I stand in the chaos of stress & expectations as my soul quietly screams out like Charlie Brown “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
And a still small voice inside answers, “Me”. Yes that baby in the manager, I had almost forgotten about him. I remember being 9 months pregnant in December 7 years ago & comparing myself to Mary. It was my first child, it was her’s. She was having a boy, so was I. I could sympathize with her agony of traveling on the back of a donkey as every bump made her wince in pain. I had to laugh at the quote by Beth Moore who says it better than I ever could:
“every woman who has ever been 8 1/2 months along and heard the Christmas story wishes she could write her own Bible commentary proposing what it would’ve been like for a woman who couldn’t see her own feet to make that trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem then be refused a hotel room.”
Yes, then she had her first baby in a barn, not on her birthing plan I’m sure. Well, I had my first baby boy in an ambulance parked in my cul-de-sac, definitely not on my birth plan either. That Christmas I really understood the joy, the pain, & the extraordinarily surprising birth of Jesus.
But oh how quickly I forget. How quickly I get wrapped up in the expectations of Christmas that steal my peace; the traveling, baking, shopping, expenses, family drama, & never-ending to-do list. By the end of the year, I find myself packing up boxes of decorations so thankful it’s over. I often feel like I’ve only survived, not thrived, each holiday season.
This year as the Christmas blues began to set in, I decided to listen less to the boisterous voices of the world around me & more to the still small voice of God. He doesn’t shout or compete for my attention, no he waits for me to be still & listen. I have to actively quiet the world around me to hear Him. And His voice is the only one who can bring peace in the mist of my overwhelmed life. He is called the “Prince of Peace” & at His birth, the heavenly host declared “and on earth peace to those whom his favor rests.”
The word peace is mentioned over 400 times in the bible. God doesn’t want us overwhelmed with the cares of this world, He wants us to have His peace. Believe me, I realize this is easier said than done. I recently watched a video called Loving my Actual Christmas based on the book of the same title by Alexandra Kuykendall. She gives such encouragement & simple steps to help “relish the season” that I thought I would end by sharing her video. I hope that it will bring you hope this Christmas as you strive for peace in the mist of the stress that the holidays can bring.