I've found myself saying a lot lately, "I'm having a really hard time getting into the Spirit of Christmas" ... to a lot of people as they ask me if I'm excited for the holidays. I've even said the same thing to my own husband. I told him I didn't want any Christmas presents, that it just didn't feel right, and I wasn't into it. I even waited until a week before Christmas to shop for my own kids for their Christmas wishes. We were late in getting our tree up this year, and still only half of our Christmas lights are up on the exterior of our home. And I realized that what I've been doing, is making excuses for my own grief, pain, and frustration, and in turn cheating people around me from experiencing the joy of Christmas. I don't think we realize how much our words can affect people.
In truth, what is the "Spirit of Christmas" that everyone keeps talking about? It has nothing to do with circumstances, gifts, shopping, baking, eggnog, cookies, etc. Don't get me wrong, those things certainly add to it and make this time of year festive. But the REAL "Spirit of Christmas" is Jesus. He is the whole reason for this season. It's His birth that we are celebrating, whether you like it or not. Christmas means "God with us". It signifies the day God sent His son to earth to be born in our world, and to begin the process of salvation. Of redemption. Of death and resurrection. Of forgiveness.
And here I am allowing my present circumstances to keep my focus from Jesus. No wonder I have no joy! I'm not focused on the ONE who brings joy into this world! Instead I am mad that my dryer is taking 3 days to dry my clothes. And that I probably won't have clean laundry for Christmas because I don't have time to get a repair guy out here beforehand. I'm deeply affected and in tears daily by the tragedy in CT and the reality of how nasty our world has become, and burdened for every parent that has lost a child, whether by miscarriage, murder, natural disaster, accident, hunger, etc.
I am mad at the police force for putting an $84 ticket on my car, while it was parked in front of my house. It's Christmas people, for crying out loud! I'm exhausted from cleaning up cat pee everywhere and taking my cat to and from the vet to find out he has a bladder infection and that it could take weeks to heal. I'm on edge because I barely have time to shower, and my kids are fighting all the time, and one child threw up all over me the same day I noticed two of my tires were completely bald and I had to get my car into the shop immediately, thus having to cancel a coffee date that I had planned with a dear friend. And then I realize we're out of milk and I don't have a white elephant gift for my Christmas Party, etc...etc...
And in all of these "circumstances" I find myself saying, "Gosh, I'm having a real hard time getting into the Spirit of Christmas this year". Well, hello? If I would just quit complaining and focusing on everything "going wrong", but spend more time reading the Bible and keeping my focus on Jesus, I think I would be full of joy and in the Spirit of Christmas. Do you agree? He promises in His Word that in HIM we can have peace. John 16:33 says, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In
the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the
Despite the craziness that this holiday has brought for me so far, I take hope in my renewed focus on the reason for the season. Jesus Christ. If it weren't for God sending His son to die for me, I would have no hope. As it says in Micah 7:7-8, "But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation, My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise. Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me."
And lastly, Psalm 16:7-11,
I will bless the Lord who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
From now on, I will boldly take the Spirit of Christmas by storm and live it up, with true JOY. After all, Christmas only comes once a year, and I am not going to ruin it. I am going to give credit where credit is due, and be thankful to God for sending His precious son to be born and live (and die) among us crazy humans, all because of the vast love the Father has for us. Nothing is more important than that.