Tis’ The Season. A phrase that is thrown around in many different ways. To notate joy, belief, sarcasm, or cynicism. Why does this particular season that makes us feel such warmth and excitement, also seem to always get our panties in a bunch? Perhaps it is the expectations we place upon ourselves, and those we hold dear to us. While doing so, we tend to forget what “The Season” is really all about.
One of my kiddos asked a peer what he thought Christmas was about, and his answer, unsurprisingly, was “Celebrating Santa and getting presents.” I think that we all tend to get to this place about halfway through holiday planning and gift buying. As adults we don’t actually believe that to be the meaning of Christmas, but we certainly begin to act like it is. We become overzealous and over-plan, cramming so much in we forget to sit back and enjoy some peace. We hold expectations of relatives to travel, and spend time all together. We stress out over gifts, and what to buy, so much so that we resent the process altogether. Some even give up on it because its “too much work” or “there’s no time this year.” We hold the crazy expectation that when we do finally get together to celebrate, everyone will be perfect, and happy, and the room will have this glow to it as we all laugh and sing and act like angels.
When any of those expectations are not met, we become a little bit bitter. We lose sight of what we are getting together for in the first place, why we really wanted to buy a gift for our loved one, and why we feel everyone should be merry and cheerful. We forget about Jesus, and His purpose for us. We forget that while Jesus was born in a stable, only to grow up amongst people who ridiculed him, experience temptation, and ultimately give His life for us and our salvation, we are worried about pleasing others with their Earthly desires. What we are not worried about, is experiencing the holiday as reflections of Christ with grace and forgiveness. Showing others what having the Holy Spirit in us could look like during a time where not everyone has family to see, or money to buy gifts. Providing our children with true understanding of the holiday by teaching them about Baby Jesus as they learn about Santa Claus. Showing our family some understanding and mercy when things are tough and don’t work out the way we want them to.
If not now, then when? If we cannot do these things during one of the holiest days of the year, then when will we? At least now we have blatant reminders in our faces and ears every day, “…you better not cry, you better not pout…” We can take these warnings and remember WHY we are supposed to “be good”this season. We know already that it’s not so Santa will bring us some presents. It’s time to really understand and embrace what The Season is about. No matter what part of it has gotten to you, try to attack it with Christ IN you, and He will help you see it in a whole different light. Don’t get me wrong, I’m only writing this because I am struggling myself. I know it’s not going to be easy to do. But I do believe in the magic of The Season, and if there’s anything to believe in, it’s the power of Christ IN me. Because with Him, we can do anything.
Merry Christmas. May you find the joy and peace that this Season was meant to bring you.
And if you need an example of true Christmas Spirit, this little guy sure seems to get it!