Feeling Peace and Joy at Christmas
By Vicki Molinari
It's December. The hustle and bustle of Christmas has begun. So has the pressure. It’s a subtle pressure, isn’t it? We value our time with family and friends at Christmas but the struggle to enjoy it is real. Decorating, cooking, shopping, and wrapping are the duties for most families and that often pulls us away from the REAL meaning of Christmas.
How can we push past the chores on our list and embrace the season with peace and joy? For me, I am being intentional to make a plan.
Set time aside for me: Today, I am home. I delight in the ability to have a day at home to myself. My life and work can become all consuming, but when I sit here and look around at our decorations, I am at peace. I can focus on the joy Christmas brings, the plan of Heaven into my world and the true meaning. There's nothing better. We are celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus.
Remember who's I am: My blessings and acceptance don't come from providing my family a perfect Christmas. I won't bow to the familiar Christmas chorus that drowns out the words of favorite carols and mixes my Christianity with its manufactured blessing. I am a daughter of the King. God loves me. My soul knows that very well. Result? Peace.
Recall the memories: This will be my 32nd Christmas since getting married. Our first began with a meager tree my husband cut down from the empty lot next door to our home. Small, sparse and scraggly was the tree but it was perfect, decorated with just a few ornaments. Yearly, more ornaments were added to our Christmas tree. This year, as we decorated together, hung each ornament and set each item on display, I realized these decorations carry a memory of origin. Each one, given or purchased at a special time or from a special person. I love that! Memories!
It is not about the gifts and grandeur: Over the years, I remember Christmas Eve panic and gift-wrapping. I remember Christmas day celebrations. Later I landed exhausted into bed, and couldn’t clearly recall the happenings of the day because my mind had been so full of making it special for the family –Sound familiar?
It is about God: As quoted by Valerie Murphy "I believe God loves that I stop, seek Him and realize that there is literally nothing that I can do to make Christmas better – more real – more exciting – than it already is….He listens to my cry to try to ‘make’ Christmas perfect when there is only One who is. What is more exciting than the celebration of a baby born to set our world free? What is more satisfying than looking around us and understanding that every one of us is a pure miracle…and our Creator senses pure joy when we turn to Him?"
Scripture says, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son; And they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23
This year, let's follow a new plan: Let's be at peace as we prepare for the day of celebration around our tree. The day we celebrate our Savior's birth.
"It is not about the gifts or the tree, Mom but it is the memories made around the tree that matter," Jillian wisely stated.