I posted the following on Facebook last year, and many “me too” comments resulted. When it popped up in my FB memories, I decided reading it each year in early December would be a wise addition to my Christmas to-do list.
I’m not usually a depressed person. And Christmas is my favorite time of the year. But lately, I seem to feel like a piece of taffy, pulled and stretched, and just generally overwhelmed.
The question I’m asking is, “If I am being stretched thin … by whom?” Maybe some of you can relate.
“Silent Night … O Holy Night” … “O Little Town of Bethlehem” … “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” … such peace-filled melodies detailing the birth of Christ are what I crave.
After all, the calendar has flipped to the final page of the year: December (yikes)!
But “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” are more of what’s ringing in my ears and cluttering my head lately. The music of the world is turned up too loud, and I can’t concentrate.
I need to unplug … the commercials, the music, the movies (yes, even the Hallmark channel), and ugh, the overcrowded holiday calendar full of parties, programs, parades, open houses, and more.
Yep, there’s that law of diminishing returns again warning us that too many “good” activities don’t add up to equal increased rewards. Quite the opposite. Only stress is compounded, it seems.
And I need to lower the volume on the pleasing and the expectations, both from within and without. Hmmm, maybe I’m the one who can unplug the taffy-pulling machine.
I can be still and listen, not to the world but to God. He is there, waiting. Listen. Look. Breathe. We probably won’t find him in the hustle and bustle of the mall. But he waits, hoping we realize why we celebrate Christmas … hoping we notice the gift.
“The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) That word, “dwelt,” how wonderful!
Although I’ve heard this verse many times, I’ve never really keyed in on or pondered that word and its layers of meaning. “Abide, reside, live, inhabit, remain, and stay” are other words related to dwell.
As God sent his son, Jesus, to dwell among us, showing us how to live and love, He didn’t stop there. (Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!)
After that baby, our savior, was born in a stable so long ago and then grew up and gave his life for us on the cross so that our sins might be forgiven and that we might have eternal life with him in heaven, there was even more!
Yes, there was yet another layer to unwrap. God then sent the Holy Spirit to dwell IN us … INSIDE anyone who accepts Jesus, or more importantly, “receives” the most precious of gifts. The gift awaits us all … and, wow, the power and peace contained therein!
The rest of John 1:14 reads, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
“Seeing his glory” is what I want most for my family and friends.
He is the gift I want us to prepare for and to receive. It is the only gift that really matters. It is the only preparation that really matters. So above the world’s Christmas clamor, may we each hear the call to celebrate the gift, and may we each wholeheartedly receive him!
Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 25 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround residents.