You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 NIV
Christmas Season: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . It’s the hap-happiest season of all.”
Is this your truth? It has not been for me. However, I am on a continuous path of intentionally changing that.
Around the second week of November, I used to become overwhelmed and grumpy. The holiday season always felt like a fast paced locomotive on a direct path—bound to roll right over my spirit and derail my joy.
There’s just too much to do in too little time. Even if it does all get done, what’s the cost? I have reached a point in my life where I refuse to exchange my free ticket of peace with holiday bargains and ornamental cheer.
I used to pull out twelve Christmas bins and have them all unpacked before the end of Thanksgiving weekend. Not anymore. I have reduced my decorations by half, and I get to them when I get to them—even if it is several days after Cyber-Monday.
I used to put together the kids annual Christmas picture and card. Not anymore. (I still try to send pictures or correspondence through the mail, I just aim to save it for a different season—like Valentine’s.)
I used to spend countless hours making heaps of holiday treats to give to coworkers and friends. Not anymore. Instead of being a sugar factory on a tight cookie quota schedule, I just bake for fun with my kids.
I used to get trapped in the crazy stress of present exchanges with friends, extended family, and neighbors. I’m not the hap-happiest-shopper throughout the other eleven months on the calendar. So when heightened consumerism takes place—forcefully crammed into the busiest season of the year, it felt like I was hauling a heart full of coal. Not anymore.
I’ve learned where to turn at Jesus Junction. (Junction: a location where traffic can continue to travel on their path ahead or take a turn and change directions to an alternate route.)
As I have come to the crossroads of what matters most at Christmas, I am no longer headed nonstop downhill in the month of December. I have hit jam on the brakes and intentionally merged onto a different track. In order to do this, I have had to let loose of a lot of baggage cars. (The pressure and weight of going overboard with decorating, baking, buying, etc.)
In this detachment process, I know that I will unintentionally offend or disappoint some people. As sad as this can be, I would rather let down people than miss the reason for the season.
Because as I let go of holiday to-do lists and expectations, I have more time to pull into the restful station of peace with my Savior. No longer am I a disgruntled passenger headed on a fast-track to frustration, but rather I am free to be a conduit for Christ.
If you feel as though you get overwhelmed on a runaway steam engine in the month of December, this is your call to switch tracks and join the peace train. What might you need to let go of this season in order to enjoy this free ride?
Dear Lord, Direct our hearts to remain focused on YOU in this holiday season and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.