Shhh...can you hear that? It’s the sound of quiet. Mentally put yourself on your couch in the dark with a cup of some hot beverage and the only lights that are on are those on your sparkling, beautifully decorated Christmas tree. You stare in wonder and thankfulness for this life and all of God’s many gifts you don’t deserve. Everyone is sleeping and the gifts are all wrapped. It is Christmas Eve, and you wait in silent expectation of what Christmas day will bring. You’ve worked hard and you now breathe a sigh of relief and peacefulness.
A Season of Yearning
Wouldn’t it be nice to carry peaceful calmness in your holiday pocket? Is that even possible? Each year I observe more and more people decorating and shopping early so they can enjoy the Christmas holidays a little longer and not be so stressed. I am one of those people! I want to soak up every moment of holiday cheer and not be a grinch while “getting all the things done.” And therein lies a very real struggle for many of us. A wrestling in our hearts that longs to communicate on a deep level with our heavenly Father, the whole reason why we celebrate this season, and a juggling of all the tasks and preparation.The season of Advent, which means “waiting,” is upon us. If we quiet ourselves for a moment, we all can recognize a longing, a “waiting” for our deepest yearnings to be satisfied. No one and no thing on this side of Heaven will ever fully satisfy us except Jesus. Without realizing it, though, we try to satisfy this longing, don’t we? We buy and stretch our budgets thin, while our minds and hearts get jumbled in the mess of it all. We get resentful from the work and exhausted from the weight of carrying the load of feeling like we need to experience the myriad of activities available to us throughout this time. It gets overwhelming, doesn’t it?
Now that I’ve unpacked some of the crazy that we can find ourselves experiencing each year, lean in for a pep talk for your heart.
Step 1: Get Alone
I propose getting alone each morning, before the day gets moving, to quiet yourself. I’m referring to a separate exercise from the typical devotional time many of us do each day. Picture Jesus sitting next to you and telling you that He’s got you and and everything in your day. That He loves you no matter what. That your worth and value are not contingent on what you produce, but solely on the fact that your are His beloved child. I believe if we put Him first, then “all these things will be added” unto us (Matthew 6:33). Put first things first, my friend, especially during this season.
Step 2: Clear the Mind
Try to clear your mind as much as possible for just a few minutes while doing this exercise. The Father loves to just sit with you and have you soak in His presence. Over time you will notice, your spirit will become calmer. The calm that Jesus carries inside of Him will begin to be your calm. Imagine a holiday where yes, maybe you’re busy, but your insides are calm and at peace.
Step 3: Ask for Alignment
Through this quieting, begin to ask the Lord to give you direction in your calendar and your day. Pray over your to-do list asking the Father to be your guide. Ask Him to make His desires your desires. The endless list of available activities and to-do’s will start to have some structure to them and with His eyes, you will be able to discern what’s truly important and what can take a back seat.
Dear one, there are many strategies you can employ to diffuse the stress you experience at Christmastime, but for lasting peace, you must go to the Prince of Peace.