Friday, December 24

Intentional Christmas

Last night Hubs and I were talking, and one of us said, "You know what the hardest part of being an adult is? It's the fact that birthdays, holidays, and most of all CHRISTMAS are truly what you make of them." We both agreed that being a married adult can be sobering when you realize that you are responsible for creating the culture you want to have for celebrating holidays and other special events. You have to make things special and memorable. You're in charge of memories that go beyond the sparkle, glitter and lights. It can be a lot of pressure if you let it get to you. But thankfully, this year we have been liberated by realizing that we have done too much in the past, too much to make other people happy and not enough to make ourselves happy and able to enjoy and celebrate Christmas in a way that brings us meaning.

So this year, we are starting a new tradition. We are doing what we'd like to do to celebrate the holy-day of Christmas. I am so excited to be spending this evening with our dear friends and church family, first at a candlelight service and then at an annual party that we are attending for the first time. Can I just say - It's amazing what you'll find time for when you schedule it like a priority - rather than trying to prioritize a too-full schedule. (OK that wasn't a riddle, but it kind of wrote out like one... ha!)

I am thankful for the freedom and light heart I feel today. I am not out running around last minute for gifts; I am not sitting here stressing about tomorrow's crazy schedule driving from city to city; I am not worried about making all variety of dishes to bring to each gathering. I am relaxed. I'm spending some time in the kitchen making Christmas Chex Mix for neighbors, and hoping to bake some gluten-free, dairy-free Russian Tea Cookies this afternoon. (Russian Tea Cookies are one of my favorite Christmas cookies of all time, and I haven't had them in years - I'm hoping they turn out with alternative ingredients!)

Can I encourage you, my friends? Be of good cheer this Christmas weekend. Keep the main thing the main thing. Remember the reason for the season. In Luke 10, Martha has invited Jesus into her home and has created a busy whirlwind of chores and tasks for herself, while her sister Mary has stayed in the living room with Jesus to sit at his feet and soak up his wisdom and love - the Word says she was hanging on every word he said. In response to her sister's actions, sadly, Martha chooses to whine to Jesus: "Master, don't you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me?"
Listen to Jesus' response to Martha. Take it to heart and let it guide you toward peace and the right priority today and tomorrow:
"Martha, dear Martha, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it - it's the main course, and won't be taken from her."

So my friends, don't get caught up in last minute errands, to-do lists, and people-pleasing this weekend. Put Jesus first, and the rest will be taken care of or fade away as you realize its unimportance in the big picture.

Merry Christmas!