Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year. As Andy Williams sings, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” There’s so much to look forward to: family gatherings, fuzzy socks, snow, food, coffee, but most importantly, the birth of Jesus.
In preparation for Christmas day, there is a never ending list of things to accomplish. There’s shopping for presents, cleaning the house, cooking food, finding the perfect outfit for those anticipated family photos, and so much more. Although Christmas comes at the same time every year, it always seems that it sneaks up on us.
Luckily for us, we celebrate the Advent season. We spend four weeks preparing for the birth of Christ. We nourish and replenish our hearts and minds, in hopes that we will be ready to celebrate the life of our Savior. Each week, we read and learn a little more about the birth story of Jesus. We read about Mary and Joseph and the difficult journey that lay ahead for them. We sing. We light candles. And most importantly, we spend time together.
During these four weeks, we are encouraged to wait. And in that waiting, we are encouraged to think of the wonderful blessing that God sent into the world. We are encouraged to think of how God is working in our own life and what plans He has in store for us in the coming days, weeks, and years. We are encouraged to think of how He will use us, like he used his faithful disciple Mary.
But for some of us, that seems nearly impossible. Our daily lives do not allow time for waiting. There is always something we need to be doing. Our lives jump from event to event. Birthday to holiday. Holiday to work. Work to church. Church to volunteering. There’s very little, if any, time allotted for waiting. Christmas is coming. Presents need to be purchased and wrapped. Food needs to be cooked. The house needs to be cleaned. Clothes need to be washed. How can we spend time waiting for four weeks when there are so many things left to do?
Well, to my surprise, those four weeks have come and gone. Christmas is officially over. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel as if I prepared myself enough. I spent most of my time worrying about the little things that life and Christmas bring. I found myself always doing, never waiting. Never really enjoying the moment and seeking out the spirit. Never really thinking of how God is working in my life and opening myself up to the spirit’s guidance in this Christmas season. Instead, I found myself overwhelmed with To-Do lists and errands to run. Thinking about others. Not taking time for myself. Not taking enough time for God.
But thankfully, through the help of God’s strength (and an enormous amount of coffee), everything was accomplished. My lists have been checked off and thrown away. Presents have been opened. Food has been demolished. Laughter has filled the home. Jesus has celebrated yet another birthday. My stomach is full. My heart is full. But my soul longs for more.
The wonderful thing about Christmas and the gift that God sent us is that Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving. Jesus was sent to live on this earth as one of us. He has His whole life to grow and to serve ahead of Him. In the coming months, we will study and learn about this life and the events that eventually lead up to His death and resurrection. Easter. It seems so far away, but it will be here sooner than you think.
But, back to now. Back to this moment. What are we doing now? Our Savior is born! Our Light has entered the world! The Messiah is here!
Well, we once again find ourselves waiting. We are preparing ourselves to learn about the life of Jesus Christ and all of the truly wonderful teachings He brought to this earth. The parables. The healings. The miracles. They will all be shared in due time. But first, we must wait. We must prepare ourselves. More waiting. The hard part.
If you, like me, found yourself caught up in the doing and giving of yourself that comes with the holiday season, I encourage you to stop. Whatever you’re doing, stop. We have been given another opportunity to prepare ourselves. Luckily for us, the waiting game never ends. There’s always more opportunities to grow in our faith, grow in our relationship with God, and grow in our stewardship. We can always work on becoming better disciples for Christ.
In this new period of waiting, I encourage you to be selfish. Take some time to yourself. Spend time with God. Pray more. Worry less. Read your scriptures. Listen to soothing music. Take a walk. Take time to stop and think about all of the blessings God has placed in your life: friends, family, talents, and resources. Figure out how God is calling you to use them. And always remember that God’s gifts are infinite and His love is beyond abundant.
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
We all have a story to share. Mosaic is a collection of our stories.