One of many nights this season, I sat in front of our Christmas tree looking at the lights, the ornaments my kids made when they were so little, the memories of Christmas’ gone by and thinking of the heavy weight, stress and almost anger I was experiencing this year.
I have always enjoyed Christmas, this year it was a struggle.
Maybe, because this is the first one without any of my girls living at home.
Um, no – I can’t be that, old?
Maybe, it’s the grief we are all going through this year, especially my
son-in-law and step daughter with the loss of their son last Christmas.
Maybe, it’s because I procrastinate, then stress out with expectations I put on myself.
Maybe it’s those Christmas cards! I stopped sending them a few years ago, I felt I couldn’t keep up. When my sister-in-law in California asked for my new address I felt compelled to tell her that if she was sending a card, I had stopped. So, basically, don’t bother. She reminded me, she doesn’t give to get; when did I pick up guilt over Christmas cards? I’m so grateful for the exchange we had, it really turned my heart around.
Or, maybe, because Jim and I watched, and made DVD copies, of ALL the VHS tapes we own of our girls growing up. Watching them brought not only joy, but sadness, tears and laughs, missing those days when they were little, days that seem like yesterday.
How did they slip away so fast?
As I was contemplating all of this and gazing at the tree, I remembered a special ornament, a tradition for decades. It must of been a gift, I really don’t remember. It’s a tradition I look forward to each year. It is the very first ‘ornament’ hung, inside, near the trunk. I forgot it was there.
Once the tree is decorated, with all this shimmering glitter, shining lights, sparkling ornaments, brilliant ribbons, this special ornament sits tucked inside, behind all the charisma.
Nothing sparkling or shiny, lit up or painted. No bells or whistles.
Simply a long heavy, nail, with red ribbon.
You won’t see it unless you look for it.
On the outside are all these beautifully placed, shiny inviting … distractions. While just a branch in, my Savior, Prince of Peace, Almighty God, Father and Friend, just waiting for me to remember Him.
Look past all the distractions, just dig a bit to find the peace and comfort your soul is craving….Debbie. Past the expectations, the grief, the loss, the stress, the cards, the procrastination and anger.
Jesus, the Gift, He came for you, for me.
YOU are the reason for the season – Craig Groeshel
As Craig Groeschel of Life Church put it, in his profound message, Change of Plans
Isn’t that the truth for us, not only during Christmas, but living day to day? Jesus is constantly calling us to be still and listen, recognize the distractions, be with Him, get off the grid, put down the screen, look a little deeper, look past the bling, the things that so easily distracts.
Do I stop? No, I do more and more and more…
endless activity and stress that leave my soul craving…
Jim took me for a drive to see a decorated house he thought I’d really like, oh my goodness, my husband knows me!
THIS house, this scene, powerful. If you can’t tell, there is a wrapped gift in that manger.
This was a breath of fresh air, a seal on my heart this Christmas. We pulled in so I could get a picture with a silent thank you to the family.
Simple, clean, quiet, uncomplicated truth.
Thank you Jesus that you didn’t come for popularity or fame, wealth or possessions, the perfect gifts or cards, to be entertained or excessive busy-ness.
Thank you for coming for me.