Christmas is naturally a season full of joy. For some of us. For many, it is a season of stress.
Our society has turned Christmas into something it was never meant to be. It has become all about the presents, the parties, the obligations. Instead of slowing down and reflecting on the reason we celebrate, as soon as Thanksgiving is over, we dive head first into chaos.
Even when I try to be intentional about slowing down this time of year so that I can savor the moments and reflect on God’s goodness, I still somehow get caught up in the whirlwind of activities, events, to dos, and obligations.
The past few days, I’ve really felt the tension. I want to put on the brakes, to pause, to just breathe; instead, I shop a little more, make another decoration, add another event to my already packed calendar.
Last night, I felt this tiny nudging in my heart. It was like a little voice that said, “Come, sit at my feet. Come hang out with me. Come and just let me hold you.” And my heart burst wide open, and I knew that’s what I needed. I committed to do that more.
It’s so easy, when we’re busy, to hit the ground running in the morning, and rather than just taking a few moments to rest in God’s presence, while the house is still quiet, I get to work. And, oh how I have missed my morning time with God, when I pour out my heart to Him, read His word, and let Him pour into me.
A Tale of Two Sisters
I’m reminded of the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha, in Luke 10:38-42. While not exactly a Christmas story, it correlates perfectly with the point I’m trying to make. When Jesus decided to visit their home, they were beyond thrilled. I know if Jesus randomly showed up at my house, I’d be freaking out (just a little).
Of course, Martha did what most of us would probably do – rush around making sure everything is just right. Get some tea going, warm up some bread, start making dinner… “Oh, is that dust on the mantle? Nothing but the best for my Lord.“
Meanwhile, Martha looked over at Mary, “that slacker,” she thought.
Here, Martha was running around being the perfect hostess, and Mary was over there just hanging out with Jesus!
She couldn’t take it any longer; she just had to say something. After all, it wasn’t fair that Mary was just sitting there while she did all of the work. There was so much to do, and she could use a little help.
So, having had enough, she felt compelled to say to Jesus, “Tell her to come and help me.”
However, Jesus’ response caught her off guard. He said, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (v.41-42)
I can only imagine the silence and awkwardness that must’ve filled the room at that moment.
But Jesus said it, and Martha couldn’t deny it. Jesus would much rather Martha come sit and hang with him than watch her rush around in a flurry of activity.
Choose Joy and Peace
Likewise, rather than making sure we check off every item on our Christmas bucket list, God would rather we slow down and just spend time with Him, and make room in our hearts for His children.
We have the opportunity to choose stress and chaos, or joy and peace. We have the opportunity to check off everything on our to-do list over the remaining weeks of this short season, or worship our Lord, Jesus, and just bask in his love.
I would rather focus on the warmth of the Christmas season than trying to make everything perfect.
I want to choose to not get caught up in the chaos of making it to all the parties, or throwing the perfect party; of making sure I don’t forget to get anyone a gift, but to just put my focus on the ones closest to me.
This is a time of year that we should slow down, reflect on what God has done for us, and what He continues to do for us.
I pray that God will reveal to you ways that you can slow down. For me, it means saying no more often, especially when my plate is already full; it means waking up early to spend time with God before my busy day begins; it means choosing activities more often that cultivate joy and peace, rather than stress and chaos.
To follow the whole series of Journey to Christmas, click here: https://jenniferjabbour.com/the-journey-to-christmas-advent-series/