It's Christmas and that means parties, lunches, gift exchanges, parades and about 20 other kinds of events. For moms, especially, the weight of the season can be too much. All the lists to complete, houses to clean, presents to wrap and cookies to bake. But what about when life is too much and you can't make your family's Christmas match the Christmas board on your Pinterest account?
I was listening to Christmas carols in the car yesterday and they also tend to taunt us this time of year if we have a struggle of some sort. I used to love the song, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" as a kid but as an adult now I don't always find my heart feeling "light" as the song commands me to do. I started talking back to the radio yesterday saying, "My Yuletide is not gay and from now on my troubles are are no where near from far away!" In fact, it seems troubles are closer at hand every year.
Right now, California is burning, our country has buried dozens due to shootings, mental illness seems rampant, friends are mourning their children and others sit through chemo clinging to last hopes. Even though all of this and so much more is going on, the ugly sweater invites come and requests for treats and wrapped gifts come. Here's the thing, sometimes you have to give yourself permission to bring the store bought cookies to the very fancy table. It's ok to take the easy way out during a tough time. I don't recommend withdrawing from the world completely at this time of year; there is hope and healing in fellowship but we don't have to outdo Martha Stewart just to be there. Our true friends will understand.
I'm making my way to a few gatherings this week. Some tables will surely have over-the-top crafts and home created treats. My offering will likely be a box of store bought cookies which I will choose hastily and purchase in the self checkout that doesn't work properly. My kids will be waiting in the car while it's running and I probably won't even put those cookies on my own plate, I'll pull them from the ugly grocery bag and pop open the plastic clam shell container on the table next to the cute cheese sticks made to look like snowmen with cute faces and little scarves.
It's ok. We're all in different places each year. Some are celebrating, some are meh, and some are sad. No matter where we are we must give ourselves grace. God didn't send His son to run us ragged. He sent Him to take our burdens and to show us unconditional love. God sent Him to turn what the world expects upside down and do the unexpected. God gave us Jesus so that the government would be upon His shoulders not ours. Jesus is our Prince of Peace not the Prince of Pinterest. Jesus came whether we pipe the royal icing or run through the self checkout. Keep your mind and heart fixed on Him and not the world's expectations this Christmas.