This year, I’m quitting Christmas.
At least, I quit the hurried way I’ve been observing Christmas over the past few years.
To say I love holidays would be an understatement. When I was just seven years old, I started decorating my room for every holiday. My expectations for the holidays soar higher than I can reach.
When my first child was born, I had grand visions of Pinterest-perfect family holiday traditions. I imagined us cuddling up as a family and sharing a sweet family Advent devotional every night. I saw us sacrificing our time and money as we joyfully served others on a weekly basis during the Christmas season. I envisioned a minimalist Christmas morning with a few gifts, reading the Christmas story before opening them, and devouring cinnamon rolls.
Reality looks more like me forgetting to hang up the Jesse tree ornaments for the past three days and Cupcake asking if she can watch TV one minute into the devotion. It looks like me scraping to find time to put a meal on my family’s table between buying and wrapping gifts and attempting to “serve” others. It looks like arguing with my four-year-old that if she hasn’t played with that toy in a year, we should give it away while she argues back that she waaaannnts it. It looks like us mailing our Christmas cards out on December 24. It looks like me breaking down in tears around December 15 because I’ve been so stressed trying to create a wonderful Christmas that I forgot Who really brings the wonder.
Even now when I picture the reality, my heart mourns for what could be.
So, this year, I quit. I quit the stress. I quit the trying too hard and being too hard on myself. I quit forgetting to bask in the wonder of the God of the Universe humbling Himself as a baby. I quit pushing the season of Advent to the back of prettily wrapped packages and perfectly planned traditions.
This doesn’t mean I’ve tossed everything out. I let go of “traditions” I wanted to create that were not worth the stress. I kept the ones I love. I have made GRACE my theme word for this Advent Season. If I forget a Jesse Tree devotion: grace. If I fail to serve someone the way I planned: grace. If you receive our family Christmas card on New Years: grace.
Are you with me? Let’s give ourselves permission to rest in the grace of our wondrous God who is coming again.
I am sure it won’t be all cinnamon rolls and egg nog. We will have moments of disappointment, days when we feel bedraggled, and times when God seems far away. But, we will also have grace and a God who made Himself a baby to rescue us and One who will come again to rescue the whole world.
And that is the wonder of Christmas. It requires no striving and stressing, only remembering and resting.