I had intended for this week’s theme to be tips for getting past the crazy busyness of the holidays to find a place of peace. That didn’t happen, though. I got busy—so busy I almost didn’t write a blog post! Eeep!
Being “busy” sucks the joy out of just about anything. Rushing to the party, losing sleep to wrap packages, rattling off the Christmas carol without much thought – all dangers of a busy season. And all precursors to missing the point of it all.
My youngest daughter asked me the other day why exactly we decorate the house around the holidays when we’re all so busy with programs, shopping, visiting, exams, and stuff. What’s the point of the tree, the santa dishes, and the little snowman singing on the back of the toilet?
I responded with some gibber about tradition and didn’t think about it much. But now after a few days of programs, shopping, and cleaning, I’ve had a thought.
Maybe putting up the tree, glitzing the house, and all these extras should have more of a point than just being a tradition. The kind of point that emphasizes how what we celebrate at Christmastime changes not just our normal routine—it interrupts our monotony with magnificence. It changes everything.
The entrance of God into the world as a baby changed everything. It shook the world. It showed us love and gave us real hope. So we modify life for a few weeks. Decorate our homes. Sing songs. Bake sweets. Give gifts. And reflect.
I actually just finished decorating my house. I did it a little differently this year.
Instead of doing what I’ve always done, I attempted to think of the extra stuff as worship instead of tradition– as little things I could do to honor God, reflect on his majesty, and think about more than myself rather than being grumpy about it or inconvenienced.
Annoyance about these extras has accompanied me in the past. Don’t get me wrong. I like all this stuff. I just sometimes find myself feeling overwhelmed by everything that “needs” to get done, and instead of feeling the privilege of participating in some kind of life-encompassing praise, I gripe, throw up the tree, set out a few candles, and call it a day.
But not this year.
This year I’m adding some purpose to all these busy things. The shopping, baking, decorating, parties, shows, and visits. Surely, it’s possible for these actions to become acts of worship to my LORD and King.
It just takes a different perspective. Instead of being annoyed by the busy, I will embrace it with a heart of thankfulness and joy for all God has already done for me.
And maybe while my normal life is paused to magnify God, I’ll be changed so when this holiday season is over there will be less of me and more of him. And my “normal life” will be eclipsed by his glorious one.
What are you doing this year to get beyond tradition to the heart of the season?
Thanks for this great post! This year I’ve focused on how to make next year’s Christmas less stressful and more enjoyable by looking for ways to lighten my list. My heart’s desire is to be able to see the wonder and beauty of Christ’s birth. Worship sounds like a great place to begin. Merry Christmas, my warrior friend.