Friends, it’s less than 1 week until Christmas and still, it couldn’t feel any less like holiday season. As I’ve gotten older, the excitement of topping presents off with bows has been simply replaced with struggling to find the right present for everyone who deserves to know JUST how much I love them. The long-awaited Christmas break has slowly become dreaded because it signifies the start of finals week. In short, Christmas just keeps feeling less and less like Christmas every year. And when Christmas simply isn’t Christmas, we start losing focus of the true reason we have the holiday. So here’s the BIG QUESTION: when did singing Jesus happy birthday turn into scrambling to memorize dozens of formulas? When did the excitement of writing letters to Santa become stressing over perfect presents to bring to gift exchanges? When did we start thinking that we should put God on the back burner and spend our time focusing on school and work and friends? Isn’t HE the reason for Christmastime? I’m not saying that we aren’t all busy, but I’ve found myself doing it too. We think that skipping church is compensated for by squeezing in that extra hour of whatever else needs to get done-but is it? In the long run, I am left wishing I had made just a little more time to pray this week, because the hours I set aside for studying were honestly filled with procrastination and wishing I hadn’t skipped. This is the season to spend as much time as we can in His word, not fill up our time with everything but Him.
Now, the other day, I stumbled back on an old favorite verse of mine that hit home. Hard.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
Along with it simply not feeling much like Christmas, I simply have not been feeling much like…me. So what does this mean? Trials come rushing at us like waves of the sea, knocking us off track and causing us to question everything that we were once so sure of. Why? Why, in this season that is supposed to be full of thanksgiving and praise, is it hardest to hold onto faith? I’ve been trying to explore this a little lately. And I cannot seem to find an answer that fills all my wants. As humans, we expect these ginormous answers that explain every little thing going wrong in our lives perfectly. Here’s the thing, we build up the suspense and expectations for these incredibly complex answers. Friends, why do we have this overwhelming need to make things more complicated then they need to be? When trials come my way, I find myself expecting a response that is beyond my comprehension. I want something bigger than I am. That’s the beauty of God’s love, it’s beyond simple, but the most complicated expression of love and forgiveness that we will ever even begin to know. I want the assurance that His love is simply enough. I want the promise that everything, every little issue, will be beyond okay. There’s the problem, we want. When surrounded by people who all openly embrace His love instead of wanting the security of it, I don’t find myself wanting anything but to be closer to Him.
Where does that leave us? We should be soaking up all His love for us, not stressing ourselves out and completely ignoring the only reason that we are here in the first place. When did Christmas, a time designated to be praising at the top of our lungs, turn into focusing on what we want? Y’all, His grace is enough, it always has been enough and it always always will be. Psalms 145:19 goes on to tell us,
“He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.”
We battle with worldly desires. We crave the security of knowing that everything we want is going to happen exactly how we want it to. But, the thing is, it won’t. Every twist and turn of our lives has something completely unexpected hidden in it (wow, I’ve discovered that a lot recently). Sometimes it feels like God is limiting us, shouldn’t we get to know how something is going to happen? I just finished the Shack by WM. Paul Young and I think he explained it pretty well.
“Love is not the limitation; love is the flying…Why do children love to hide and seek? Ask any person who has a passion to explore and discover and create. The choice to hide so many wonders…is an act of love”
So let’s just take some time to stop. Stop wrapping those presents. Stop obsessing over finals grades getting posted. Stop binging on Netflix and eating a surplus of cookies and just be. Rest in Him and be thankful for His crazy acts of love that we can’t even start to understand.