The fire is going. The lights on the tree are blinking. I am sipping coffee out of my Christmas mug. I watched It's A Wonderful life last night. With any luck, I'll get my Christmas village out today. The scene is peacefully set.
My mind is overloaded with an out of control to-do list and my heart is hurting with misplaced intentions.
I heard someone say recently that they couldn't wait for Christmas to be over.
It was startling. I cringed when I heard it. Yet, there was part of me that longed to scream "Yes, I know what you mean."
Every year I think I am going to do better. I will shop early. I will mail the presents right after Thanksgiving. The decorations will be up so I can enjoy my family and bask in the holiday spirit.
This year is the same as last year. I am scrambling to get gifts bought and mailed. I have not mailed a Christmas card. I haven't participated in any community Christmas events. I did not budget well enough to buy the gifts I wish I could. Instead, I am looking for impressive gifts for low cost.
I have read a few blogs that speak of a simple and focused Christmas. At first the words were refreshing and inspiring but as the days and weeks wore on, I felt a burden of failure. My Christmas isn't simple (again). Christmas is 10 days away. I cannot possibly do all that I want to do. It's isn't the missed parade that bothers me most. I am frustrated that I do not have an abundance of time to spend focused on others. Instead, my To Do list is never done.
Why, oh why, did I let Christmas get this Crazy?
I read something this morning that jolted me. The first words read as if I wrote them. The last part pointed me in the direction I needed to go.
I encourage you to take a few minutes to read this: A Backwards December
I allowed frustration to take hold in my heart. Disappointment reigned in my spirit as I desired to give relationally to others.
I missed the whole point.
"But unless I first receive from Him, I realize too late I have nothing to give."
Powerful. Changing. Purpose-giving.
It's crazy to celebrate Christmas and not spend time with God each day.
"The only reason Christmas means anything in the first place is because of who Jesus is to us everyday."
My God, why do I give up my time with you so I can rush to celebrate you? There is nothing more crazy than that. Why do I stress that I am not giving others my time and love, when I have not given God my praise?
My Christmas is changing- today. I may not be able to devote the financial resources I wish I had to someone in need. I may not be able to participate in a charity effort in large fashion. I may not be able to powerfully display to my children the purpose of giving. I may not be able to do those things on my own. I can focus on God, pray and read the Bible. I can stop focusing on me. I can stop focusing on my failures. Who knows what God will show me when I do that.
With Him as my focus, Christmas won't be crazy.
"He is not in the business of overwhelming us. He is in the business of loving people, one at a time."