I’m currently elbow deep in icing and ginger bread house accoutrements.
Yep – I’m back in Ohio doing all the Christmassy things with my nieces. The kitchen is in full prep mode for tomorrow night, Alexa is crooning away with Bing Crosby Christmas classics.
And I am searching high and low to find the Christmas spirit.
Now, before you write me off as the Grinch, let me just say — I’m in the Christmas spirit according to society’s standards: I’ve got a tree, been to the concerts, wrapped the gifts, and am relishing in the togetherness with my family.
But the real Christmas — the true meaning of Christmas — that is something I’ve been yearning to feel.
And as a Christian woman, that’s a vulnerable thing to admit. I think there can be a lot of pressure to have that picture perfect Christmas, where — yes you perfectly wrap the gifts and have gifts for all the neighbors, perfectly crafted and timely delivered Christmas cards, a house that looks straight off a Pinterest board, and all the while, keeping the focus on Christ’s birth and the “reason for the season.”
And frankly, that is an exhausting and impossible standard to live up to.
And as a result, the Christmas burnout or the numbing of joy I think is a lot more common than people care to admit.
This afternoon, I was in my head, stressing about all the things I still had to do for Christmas. And as I found myself mentally elsewhere while my nieces were trying to play with their out-of-town aunt they never get to see, I realized I was going about Christmas all wrong.
That Christmas spirit I was yearning for — it was right in front of me, and I was missing it, wrapped up in the bustle of it all.
That’s the name of the game for Christmas.
Starting with the Child in the manger, and stretching to the people all around me.
Jesus is in the manger, yes — but He is also in the hearts of my nieces, and all my loved ones around me. And I am grateful for that love: Love that came down on Christmas in the form of a child, and love that lives on in everyone we meet.
That’s what Christmas is all about: remembering that important truth, and then living in gratitude for it. Because when we embrace and live from gratitude, it results in the joy that comes from a full heart.
That’s what I was missing this Christmas.
And that’s what I wish for you, dear friends, this Christmas. I hope that wherever you are, you feel His love — in the manger, in those around you — and experience the joy that comes from a grateful heart.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. Grateful for YOU!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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