BY JESSICA LANDMON
‘Tis the season to be jolly, or so the saying goes. During the Christmas season, we, of course, should be filled with joy and exuberance. What’s not to love? Christmas decorations adorn our homes, Hallmark movies are in marathon mode, and cookies and treats are everywhere.
Although I admittedly am a “Christmas-aholic”, I recognize that this time of year is not that “jolly” for many of you. Some of you are dealing with hurtful memories of Christmases gone bad. Others are coping with the loss of a loved one that makes this particular time of year very painful. And, still, others are feeling anxious about all the things that need to be accomplished.
In any instance, I want to encourage you with some truths.
1 – Jesus wants to bring you peace this Christmas.
The holidays can be one of the most painful times of year, either reliving disappointments from prior years or missing that loved one who is no longer with you. Jesus can bring you peace and healing. You just need to come undone before Him.
Invite Him into all those areas that you try to hide from the world, and allow Jesus to minister to you soul. Let Him replace sorrow with hope, depression with joy, and anger with love. Stop looking to other means to fill that void. Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the answer.
2 – Christmas isn’t about you.
That’s right. It’s about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Your shopping list may still be untouched, and your Christmas cards may not even make it out this year, but that’s not what it’s about. Who cares if you put on a Pinterest-worthy party? (Although, I’d like to be invited if you do.)
Christmas should be a time where we reflect on the single most significant gift we have ever received – Jesus. His birth, and ultimately His death, reconciles our sinful lives to God so that we may spend eternity with Him. If we reflect on this marvelous truth, all the pressure that we put on ourselves this season begins to seem silly. Let His presence overflow in your heart.
3 – Stop sacrificing your Christmas joy in pursuit of the “perfect” Christmas.
Yes, I love to decorate every room of my house. And, yes, I have an Excel spreadsheet that tallies all my gift purchasing. But, I will not allow the stress of the season to ruin my Christmas.
I used to think that I needed to have Christmas cards in the mailbox by December 1st, Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving, and all presents wrapped and under the tree no later than the first week of December. Crazy, right? I thought that if I could get all this done early, I could really spend the season focusing on the important things. I guess that is true, but as what cost?
Instead of quickly checking things off my list, I decided to enjoy each and every thing I need to do no matter when it gets done. Of course, I still feel pressure at times, but I have learned to view these tasks as blessings, rather than burdens.
4 – You don’t have to act like Buddy from Elf to let the joy of the season fill you.
I know I may be offending some of my high-spirited readers, but we don’t need to decorate our cars with antlers, wear a Santa hat to the office, and play Christmas music around the clock to experience the joy of the season. If you enjoy this, please, by no means stop, but understand joy is something experienced in the heart, not necessarily put on display for everyone to see.
Joy isn’t a feeling – it is confidence in knowing where your hope lies. Joy comes from receiving our King, Jesus. And, it shouldn’t stop on December 25th. You can experience this joy year round.
Joy to the World! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing.