I’m not sure about you, but Christmas catches me by surprise every year. It’s not like I don’t know the date or something! I’m not sure what it is. It could be the start of school and the breakneck speed of the days of September, October and November. I feel like I’m finally getting into a routine and WHAMO it’s December.
As I sit in church on the first Sunday of Advent, I panic. “It’s already the first Sunday of Advent and I haven’t even gotten it set up! I’m already behind!” And.There.It.Is. The guilt, shame, panicky rushed feeling rolls out in front of me all the way to the end of the month. I usually get maybe 5 days of advent done with the family. It’s a mom and Christmas fail all rolled up in one! The days go by. I run to catch up, only to find myself further behind.
As my kid’s Christmas lists grow, my failure as a mom and a Christian loom large. FAIL. I feel guilty because secretly I like to buy my kids presents and sometimes I feel that is unacceptable these days in some circles. I understand the philosophy and agree with it to some extent. It’s trying to find that fine line of balance. Usually guilt wins out in all areas of my failures; advent, gift-giving, failure to bake, etc. etc. But isn’t that the antithesis of Christmas? Guilt and shame?
The greatest GIFT was given to us for Christmas. It was the most expensive gift of all. His life for ours. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) This was a gift that brought great joy to all people and who was it given to? US!
I’m going to rethink my attitude for Christmas. I’m already ahead this year! A whole week! I’m not going to rush into it. Instead I’m going to take time. Take the time to prepare my heart. Not with a guilty conscience but with joy. Even if I only get two days of Advent done with my kids, that’s two more days than if I hadn’t done it all. Maybe those two days have the message they need to hear. That I need to hear. My husband needs to hear. Maybe just continuing to have a regular, consistent quiet time will do more to get me in the Christmas mood than anything else. Maybe it’s just about keeping in regular dialogue with the one who was born two thousand years ago.
I read today in John 6:29 “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (Jesus speaking.) Believe. That’s our main purpose here on earth. If we do nothing else, we’ve done the one thing we were made to do.
Maybe add this verse too; “Be not afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:36) Can you imagine what Christmas and our lives would be like if we lived out this little gem. Christmas would be spectacular. It would be beyond consumerism and rituals and traditions that we dread. It would be living an outrageous existence. No guilt. No fear. Only joy. And belief. If we actually believed what happened two thousand years ago, advent would be more than a to-do on an already long list of ought to’s. Christ would be centre. He would be ALL. Gifts would be about love not guilt.
I am going to Believe this Christmas. Without fear. The ironic thing is I fearful just writing that out. Because I know myself. However, I’m going to try. I will fail but because the gift that came two thousand years ago is by my side, He’ll help me get back up and try again. Because the gift was all about grace, hope and love. Believe it.