Christmas is without a doubt my favorite time of the year. I was already listening to Christmas music and making gift-lists the second week of November; but as soon as Thanksgiving was over *BAM* full Christmas mode! I am all about the festive lights, Christmas music everywhere you go, tacky sweaters, and finding the perfect gifts for family and friends. Also sales. Lots of sales.
But somehow the older I get, the more easily stressed out I get. This particular week, we had a plumber and an HVAC guy come to our apartment. We’ve been faced with some ministry opportunities + big decisions. I’m helping with a big family party this Saturday and have been *slightly* stressing about what games to play and what kind of cookies to make. There are holiday plans, holiday parties, and tons of things we want to do and places we want to go. I let myself get overwhelmed . . . maybe that’s why I freaked out when I burned our homemade chips last night.
On top of all this, I’ve been fighting some kind of cold/allergy/swollen throat thing for a week and a half. I hate being sick, and I hate going to the doctor even more. So I’ve been trying to wait it out and take all the home remedies and OTC drugs I can think of. So far so good!
Even though there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make Christmas special or trying to get well from a mystery sickness, my focus has been totally off. I’ve been a sourpuss at home and everything sets me off. My prayers have consisted of, “Lord, please help me feel better. We have a lot going on right now,” or “God, please help me not freak out and help everything to go smoothly with ____.” But I don’t think those kind of prayers are glorifying to God. I don’t think my exasperation with too much to do, or my impatience when plans don’t work out perfectly, bring Him joy. And all of that certainly doesn’t help me remember the “good tidings of great joy” of the Savior that came as a baby to live a sinless life, willingly sacrifice His life for me, and rise again to give me eternal life.
Yesterday I read Isaiah chapter nine. Such beautiful, familiar verses about the Messiah. But what jumped out at me was in verse seven. It says, “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. . .” Of the increase of His PEACE. We already know He is called the Prince of Peace. However, I think we forget it in the craziness of life, especially around the holidays that are designated to focus on it!
Before Jesus came, there was no peace. But this verse promised that His limitless government–His complete dominion, His rule–will bring limitless peace. What does that mean for me? It means I have to yield to His rule in my life, and there will be peace. I have to stop focusing on myself and my plans and my desires, because that only brings chaos, i.e. the past two weeks.
Instead of praying for the momentary frustrations or little pains, I will ask God to help me focus on Him, to remember that Jesus came because He loves me in spite of my crazy self and my brain going a thousand different directions every minute. Instead of stressing about parties and hoping I haven’t forgotten any gifts, I will smile and shrug and sing, “Joy to the World.” Instead of putting pressure on myself to make this the most amazing Christmas ever because it’s our first married Christmas, instead of bemoaning my lack of festive Instagram posts, instead of wondering how this year will be different than ever before, I will praise the One Who stepped down from His throne into a world full of sin and hatred and brokenness, to mend our brokenness and bring peace.
Don’t sweat the small stuff this season, guys. The baby in the manger is also the King of Kings, and He knows exactly where you are and what you need today.
Merry Christmas ❤