It’s here! Our imaginations start to anticipate what this Christmas season holds for us!
Oh, can’t you smell the cinnamon pinecones and white fir trees?
Imagine those chestnuts roasting over the open fire, cookie baking, and sprinkles galore!
Well-behaved children willingly dressing up in their coordinated outfits for the perfect family photos.
Lovely traditions of horse drawn sleigh rides while sipping hot cocoa.
Peaceful Christmas hymns playing while we snuggle on the couch reading as a family.
(Insert screeching of record….)
It’s no wonder we feel like failures when our picture-perfect Christmas doesn’t happen. WHERE is the peace and calm? You might be saying…” WHAT is peace and calm? My life feels like a ball of tangled Christmas lights.”
Ironic how in the season we celebrate the birth of our Prince of Peace, we find ourselves in chaos. We lose focus of the Perfect One trying to get the perfect photo. We lose meaning while trying to find meaning through cute traditions. We forget that God is the source and provider of peace.
I picture myself being poised and reverent while allowing flour to gently spill to the floor as the boys and I laugh while rolling out cut out cookies. And yet, as I am writing this, I recall how today I was not honoring in my response to my sons as an over-abundance of sprinkles was poured upon the table and floor. The disgust of the mess robbed me of the joy of the moment. I can picture all the perfect ways I want Christmas to go while at the same time feeling the anxiety that comes with the idea of the perfect ideas failing…. Then what?
What happens when the plans flop? What if none of the 152 family photos don’t turn out? The cookies burn? The sprinkles end up all over the floor? The horse drawn sleigh doesn’t happen? Or the hot cocoa spills down the front of the jacket? What if we don’t have a fireplace for the chestnuts!?!?! What if the Christmas decorations don’t look as nice as the neighbors? Maybe we aren’t as creative as Christy Christmas who has all the cute family activities planned out for all twelve days of Christmas… Or what about the fact that funds are tight and the gifts will look different this year… What if the plans we do make don’t happen?
Stop worrying. Stop comparing!
His perfect plan for you will look different that the plan He has for your friend. God has preciously gifted each of us with unique gifts and talents and passions to glorify Him with this Christmas. Let this fill us with peace. It is enough because He is enough.
In the midst of the chaos we have peace.
Failed plans? Peace.
Snowed in? Peace.
Stained outfits? Peace.
In the midst of it all is peace. Why? Because Christmas is not about the traditions, but of Who the traditions should remind us of. Jesus. His perfect birth (which I doubt was peaceful by the way) as foretold by the prophets centuries prior, and proclaimed by heavenly hosts, and celebrated by us today. But our focus is too easily diverted and we miss the peace that He has promised.
Don’t get me wrong. Traditions are memory makers! Decorations create a warm, magical atmosphere to get us excited for what is to come. Pictures… well, there is Photoshop… But we need to stop and think. What is our intention in doing what we do this season? Is it causing more anxiety than peace? Is it driving us to Christ or distracting us from Him?
Where are we spending the majority of our time? Pinterest searching for the cutest crafts, cookie designs, menus for the perfect dinner? Decorating and decorating and decorating? Browsing Amazon for the perfect ugly sweater? Researching the best ways to hide the elf or reindeer or shepherd guy for the kids?
What if we spent that much time in the word reading about how the Word was made flesh for us? Get this. The Creator became just like His creation to die for it. I don’t know about you but I can’t become what I make. Thank goodness, because my bread never turns out, and the idea of trying to become playdoh doesn’t sound desirable…
Sure, we can Google “most relaxing stretches”, or drink chamomile tea, or diffuse our favorite oils, but those will only last so long. Maybe if we spent our first fruits of the morning in prayer with the Giver of Peace, the Man of God whom we celebrate this season, imagine how that could redirect our day, our intentions, our motives, our traditions. We schedule so many things during this beautiful, exciting time of the year, yet fail to schedule time with the One this holiday should point us toward. It would be like planning and celebrating the birthday of one of our kids while not talking to or acknowledging them at all! Please don’t view this as yet another thing to have to do, rather as something you get to do!
So this Christmas, make your plans! Create new traditions! Be excited for yummy food! Decorate your house! But first, spend time with the Prince of Peace, Jesus. Ask Him to be the focus of your festivities. Ask Him to be the calm in your life.
The chaos may not go away, but we can have peace through it.
Questions to ponder:
What triggers stress or anxiety during Christmas for you? As God cares for you, how are you casting these cares on Him?
Take a look at your daily schedule. Where will you schedule in time with the One whom you are preparing to celebrate?
Recommended reading: Read Luke’s account in the gospels. Read about the Promised King, His birth, perfect life, death, and resurrection – see Jesus as He was, is, and will forever be: The Prince of Peace
About Susan Rueter
Susan is an “Executive in the highest esteem”…a stay-at-home mom, after spending two decades in the corporate world. She loves being married to her best friend, is blessed to home-school her five superheroes, and warms up her one cup of coffee four times a day. She often finds herself painting, eating cookie dough, and encouraging women in the word.
Susan is thankful for the women who have discipled her through the many chapters in her life. The foundation laid by those saints has grounded her in the peace as a daughter of the King. She enjoys listening to other’s stories and helping women see God’s grace written in their journey.
For more from Susan, visit her and her husband’s blog at https://ouradventuresinhisstory.wordpress.com/