If you look at the date on the blog posted right before this one on my website, it will say June 26th, 2020 – two days after I got engaged. Our wedding was about 3 1/2 months later, and between getting engaged and now we’ve bought a house, brought home a puppy, and hosted our first Thanksgiving, among many other things. It’s been busy to say the least, and between all of that and leading a separate blog team for another ministry, I’m just now settling in enough to refocus on my personal blog. Now, we’re entering the Christmas season.
There is not one single part about Christmas that I don’t love. Ask my family and my friends…they will adamantly shake their heads up and down in agreement.
Christmas movies are constantly rolling.
Every tree lighting and worthwhile local festivity is looked into and planned.
The tree is up before Thanksgiving because a measly little month just isn’t long enough to take it all in.
Car rides with Christmas carols, evenings snuggled up on the couch with cocoa, and Christmas lights radiating magic into the depths of my soul.
It warms my heart just thinking about it.
I’ve always been obsessed with Christmas. I can remember being about 6 years old and sneaking into the storage space where we stored our Christmas decor and pulling out whatever I could. It was a blissfully magic filled season for me growing up. And maybe the reason I love it so much now is because I loved it so much then and it’s like a piece of that childhood innocence is never really lost because it’s woken up and stirred to life again every year.
My goal this year – and probably every year – is to not make this season one of hustle and bustle. I know that’s what people expect around the holidays, but I don’t think it’s really what it should be.
Jesus came in the middle of a still, quiet night. He stills and quiets my spirit. And I just feel like it’s the most impactful and reflective way to embrace the holiday season by not embracing the chaos of busy.
The irony in all of this is that everything you just read related to Christmas was actually written at this time last year, I just never published it for whatever reason. And while my goal then was to not make this season one of “hustle and bustle”, this Christmas, I almost couldn’t even if I wanted to because of everything going on in our world. And if I’m being honest, I’ve been struggling a lot with that lately.
I’ve been struggling with not only how hopeless things seem right now, but the way there is no foreseeable end in sight. I’ve been struggling with how my husband and I are going to continue ministering to middle and high school students with masks and 6 foot rules and a world that seems to be completely different than the one they were in a year ago. I’ve been grasping for familiarity with every breath.
And yet, as different as this year is from every year in the past, in ways we could’ve never even began to imagine – it is still similar in some regards. Jesus came in the middle of a still, quiet night. He stills and quiets my spirit. The thing I have been learning in this season between the current state of affairs going on in our world and the circumstances of our personal lives is there will always be something to be anxious about.
While that may sound negative, it’s actually very encouraging.
The hope in it all is found in Luke 2:14 when the angel comes to announce the birth of Jesus. He says, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14, NIV)
When the angel refers to peace, he says “on earth”, meaning right now. Not tomorrow, not in eternity. The NCV says it this way, “Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.” (Luke 2:14, NCV)
Jesus came so that peace can dwell here. Not because He changes our circumstances or world events, but in spite of them.
His last promise before ascending into heaven was the same proclamation that was made over the coming of His birth, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27, NIV, emphasis added)
It must be that if there is a lack of peace in my heart, it is because my heart is focused on being afraid instead of on the peace He gives. Instead of choosing to feel overwhelmed, may I spend this advent season meditating on Who Jesus is and what the coming of His birth means, appreciating it even more.