I quickly gathered together my many ingredients to produce another festive dip for party-goers pleasures. It was my second time to make it in less than a week so I shouldn’t have even needed the recipe, but I pulled it out nonetheless to ensure no step was missed.
At that moment as I stood stressed in my tiny kitchen, with cluttered, messy counters, wondering why I only had an hour left until the party started, I quickly perused the recipe. And that’s when I realized I had forgotten a key ingredient. Arghh!
Even though I had just gone shopping for ingredients that very morning, and while I sadly realized we would be late to our Christmas gathering, I still gathered up my two small children and headed to the store. Just to run in quickly of course. *insert sarcasm
After loading my girls in their car seats I drove begrudgingly through congested holiday traffic to the nearest store of convenience, and I marveled at the number of people who chose to ignore basic laws of direction while they exited the parking lot where I waited to enter.
As I later reloaded my children into their car seats, and gritted my teeth at the task I felt my frustration growing over the inconvenience that the store did not have my needed item. Even as time ticked on I would drive to another store, loading and unloading my children along the way.
We had been going all week, every day a different seasonal celebration, and it occurred to me at the moment that nothing seemed easy when you had small kids. Everything was a struggle, and simple errands like grabbing a quick gift became a hair-pulling endeavor.
Yet somehow, by the grace of God, as I put the vehicle in reverse I heard the music of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and I felt compelled to join in. As I loudly belted out the soothing, traditional carol I felt my anxiety slip away, replaced by Christmas joy.
So often there are so many places to go and things to do that we can be burdened down by the activities of the season, and Satan would somehow use this to divert our hearts off the true character of this time of year. We allow trivial feelings of responsibility to family and friends to be confused with frustration and anger for the whole dang thing. We get fed-up with Christmas, and bah humbug it all. How unfair.
We’re killing Christmas with our poor attitude and bad mood, and even though the immeasurable present of eternal life cannot truly be quelled, I don’t wish to assassinate the splendor of His light from shining out of me to others. After all, doesn’t it dampen my witness to another when I can’t even be jolly on my Lord’s birthday.
While no one is probably ready to admit it, it’s actually an insult to the Savior to allow anything but sheer joy and childlike excitement to rest upon us as we celebrate His birth.
And even the mindset that commercialism has overtaken the holiday can be a reason to shut it all out, but really no excuse of worldly perversion should keep us from enjoying the birthday of a King.
I’m reminded of many a Sunday morning in the past when the rush of getting out of the house on time had caused me to yell. It’s easy for the frustration of what we feel like is important to affect what’s really important. Don’t feel bad as it sneaks up on the best of us, but it’s not too late to save this Christmas, and those to come.
So I say put up tons of twinkling lights, sing Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, and bake lots of cookies. Run to and fro if you must, spend time celebrating with family and friends, but most importantly take the time to stop and let the true spirit of Christmas saturate your soul. Let the peace that comes from the gift of Jesus fill your senses with seasonal delight.
As I sang loudly and looked back at my girls, strapped into their troublesome car seats I saw the smiles on their faces. They didn’t know anything about running late, forgotten ingredients, or presents left to wrap. All they knew was the joy of Christmas, and realized I could get on board with that.