Are the holidays weighing you down? Despite last year’s vows that “next year will be different,” many of us enter December feeling the burden of expectations. This year, we’ll have everything done early. This year, everyone will get along. We’ll spend less money. All of the lights will work. We will find the magic even if it wrecks us.
We approach Christmas with heavy expectations for ourselves—and the imperfect people with whom we celebrate.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
What would Christmas be if we could release it from our agendas? How would we celebrate if our holiday was characterized not by rushing, but by a peace beyond comprehension?
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.
What if our holiday ornaments and greeting cards were sprinkled with verses like these? What if we read them around our trees and took them into our hearts—might we be able to approach the holiday with our joy intact, and to worship more deeply and freely?
This week, choose a “non-Christmas” verse and make it central to your Christmas. It could be one of these, one from a sermon in the current series, or one you choose on your own. Memorize it. Hang it on your tree or your cubicle or your bathroom mirror—someplace it can work its way into every single day of December.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If this season has let you down before, don’t despair. If you’ve grieved a loss or attended parties alone or thrown out another picture-perfect photo card—don’t give up. The problem isn’t Christmas; at least, not the Christmas we’re called to believe.
Bring your expectations this Christmas—bring your hopes, and fears, your joy and your anger and tears. Bring all of them to the manger, to the Prince of Peace. He can take them. And he can turn them into a holiday beyond understanding.