The Christmas season is here, a time of joy and anticipation as we await the celebration of the birth of our Savior. Sadly though it is too often a time of year where the music of the season cannot drown out the cries of the world. This time of year it seems that more people feel overwhelmed by stress than any other time. Between unending shopping list and trips, frantic crowds, and events that “require” your attendance, there is too much to do, too little time to do it and expectations that are beyond your reach. All of this can transform this time from a season of peace and joy into a hectic race to Christmas day.
We live in a culture that demands that we have it all, do it all, even give it all. A culture where people are judged by what they have and how much they give. A society that reinforces the false belief system that teaches people that their self-worth is tied to how busy their lives are and how much they have. This idea is reinforced throughout the year and it is amplified during the Christmas season.
Everyone loses when we rush through Christmas. Everyone loses when we get stressed out trying to meet all of the demands and expectations that we feel are placed on us. And unfortunately, Jesus is the first to get left behind when we rush to have it all, do it all and give it all by Christmas day.
How can we balance all the requests, all the expectations that come at this time of year? How can we calmly, happily glide to Christmas? How can we stop following the world system that preaches that we need the next newest gadget or bigger toy?
Simply, just first focus on the Father’s gift that he has given you. And then follow the words of Paul in Philippians 4:12-13, – “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV) “.
Paul had learned to be content, to be calm, happy, satisfied and pleased regardless of what was happening in his life. He had learned to follow Jesus. He had learned the valuable lesson that if we will seek God’s will and meet his expectations that the rest will take care of itself. There is no stress when you serve Christ. There is no race to anything when we are listening to God. Giving and receiving is done as acts of love versus forced deeds of compliance.
We can do what God desires from us because God is the one that is providing us the necessary resources for the things that he desires us to do. So when we live in his will, we live with his energy and we are rested and content. We don’t have to sweat the outcome of the things that we do. We don’t have to worry about doing it all, just doing what God desires. We don’t have to try to have it all because we already have the most valuable possession that there is – God’s grace.
So take a step back this Christmas season and seek God’s wisdom in what you do, where you go and what you give. Let love rule the life that God has granted you and when you go and do and give, do so in his will and in his strength. Rest in his peace and be content with where you go, what you have and what you feel led to give. Amen.