Just this past week I was standing in the checkout lane at a large supermarket. There were two women in front of me loudly talking with each other about what I would describe as “the horrors of Christmas”!
They were first talking about the presents they had bought for their children thus far, and both agreed that they had already spent more than they had planned, yet they weren’t even close to being done with their shopping. I thought how sad it was when one laughed as she said: “and I know they won’t appreciate anything I get them anyway.”
Then they started talking about all the work they were going to have to do because of having to host family for Christmas. The meal preparation and baking I understand okay, but the level of cleaning they were describing…… especially one of them….. I think it might have been easier to build a new house! She was telling how she was going to have to move all the furniture out of the rooms to be able to mop every inch of the floor. All the walls had to be wiped down, and even clean under all the appliances in the kitchen……. because she knows her mother-in-law will be checking EVERYWHERE for dirt!
Then they jumped right into the Christmas lights in their neighborhood and what each thought of them. They mentioned so-and-so, and how they have the same old boring lights every year. And then….. “What about the other so-and-so place and their miniature Bethlehem display with all the characters taking up almost their whole yard!” “Yeah, it’s beautiful, but I think they’re kind of showing off. They must have spent a ton of money for all that and it must have taken forever to set it all up.”
Then they both paused for a moment, and what one of them said next, just about made me swallow my gum! She said: “You know….. it’s sad that so many have forgotten the “reason for the season”!
As I watched those women leave the store and go their separate ways, I thought about the things they had talked about surrounding Christmas…. and I wondered….. where was the Joy, Peace and Hope in their Christmas plans or celebrating?
So many “songs of Christmas” tell us of those words, but almost all the words and plans of the women in the store that day, were the opposite of Joy, Peace and Hope. There was certainly no time for a ‘Silent Night’….. their house sounded like it would be anything but calm….. and not the right kind of bright. And with the “Dirt-Seekers” who were coming to visit, do you really think there will be true Joy on display in that house this Christmas?
That very first Christmas took place in a tiny ‘stable’….. dirty….. dark….. yet ‘brighter’ than any Christmas display we’ve ever seen!
If we have the right heart attitude going into Christmas, focusing on: Joy, Peace and Hope, our Christmas plans and gatherings will be so much more calm and bright!
Sometimes we just have to slow down a little and through prayer ask God to help us….. and He will!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Focus on the One who gives us hope and enjoy those Christmas plans!
Till Next Time….