I have to admit: I get pretty frustrated with the Christmas season as it has become.
The commercialization and extreme excess of the holiday is overwhelming to me. I want a quiet day in which we can just relax and reflect on the importance and meaning of Christmas. The true meaning of the season- the birth of our Savior and the indescribable and outrageous gift that Jesus is to believers. What I experience is generally far from quiet and spiritual. The gift giving and preparation for Christmas is overwhelming. It seems like an abomination of a religious holiday. And it is. But the key word here is religious.
My friend Brian shared a Christmas revelation with me this morning. He was also a bit frustrated with the events of the day. He felt like he was not giving the Lord the focus that He deserved. Then the Lord spoke to him and reassured him: It’s OK to celebrate. It’s OK to have fun. It’s OK to exchange gifts. Go ahead- have a day of celebration. I am still God and I still love you!
My experience Christmas day was also the typical day of gift giving and excess, yet there were sweet times with family and friends. In the midst of the chaos of the day, I was able to connect with them in a deeper way. And through the time together and the gift giving, I was able to receive the feeling of being truly loved by them. So, like Brian, I was given a glimpse of the Father’s love for me.
My take away from this years Christmas is this: Christmas is a bit out of control, yet it’s good to celebrate, to appreciate others and enjoy the sweetness of the season. I must be intentional to connect with family and friends and enjoy the opportunities of the Christmas season. Rather than getting frustrated and trying to change things, I need to embrace the good of the Christmas season and let God take care of the rest. The correct response is gratitude and worship, not frustration and guilt!
So going forward, I must focus less on the excess and commercialization and focus more on the amazing opportunities of the Holiday season. Opportunities to reconnect, mend or deepen relationships. Opportunities to show my love for my wife, family and friends. Opportunities to appreciate the incredible and amazing blessings that the Lord has provided to me and my family. For me, this revelation is my greatest gift this year. And my response must be like the shepherds in the Christmas story: To bow and worship the Savior King!
8 responses to “Christmas Aftermath: Sifting Through the Rubble”
I so agree with you….the business of pre-Christmas be it celebrations or shopping or baking or wrapping gifts can be such a distraction from the peace we should feel about our savior’s birth. I too believe though that God smiles down on us when we are huddled around our Christmas trees and engaged with our family members. My grown children love our little traditions we have established over the years. I realize that in the not too distant future they will be taking the celebrations to their own homes. I know that I will be there in spirit because I think they will incorporate some of our quirky traditions. More importantly, they are believers and they will have their families smashed in a pew Christmas Eve when the lights dim and the candles burn brightly as they sing Silent Night. That is what gives me peace amid the chaos.
Thanks for the comments! We have some quirky type traditions that we really enjoy too! So funny how the kids will cement these things and how they love to repeat these traditions! I did a blog post on this way back- can’t even remember the name but traditions are a way to join together and define your family. Yes!- Silent Night is so right amid the chaos. Blessings to you and your family this New Year!
Joe – great post. To me, you hit it right on the head with the term “intentional.” I know we can’t always influence (or ultimately control) what goes on in our world. We can however, choose how we want to show up to each event in our life. We can see the blessings through the commercialization – we can decide how we want to celebrate, focus and connect with the holiday and the people in it. We can be clear and intentional in how we move through life.
I am always amazed how much choice we all have (especially in our country) and how many people don’t use their choices to live as they want and to stay focused on all the good that is around us. So many are stuck in either auto pilot, or listening to the loudest voice. Hearing our own voice and thinking through our responses is the way to own our lives and make them the celebration they were intended to be.
Thanks for sharing your realization and your wisdom. We all are constant learners and teachers.
Thanks Jay! You are so right in “finding our voice” and being intentional in making a difference. The world is flying by us and there are inumerable opportunities to impact lives, many appear so small and minor that they are nearly unnoticable. Yet these opportunities have POWER. You have to chose to make a difference or they will slide right by you. Great insights on the auto pilot and noise that distracts us! It is so true. Yes- let’s REALLY celebrate our lives! Thank you for the comments and support. Blessings to you and your family this New Year!
Good post Joe! The importance of family and traditions was really clear to me this year when I was able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with my kids. A few days before, I spent the evening with friends at a progressive dinner that we have been doing for the past 3 years. And how can I forget our tradition of getting together at St. Augustine and having Christmas at the park bench by headlights!! For me, it’s not the gifts but being with family and friends and the memories made.
Thanks Cindy. I agree completely- especially the Christmas at the picnic table! Happy New Year!
Thank God for revelation!