A new month can trigger a rush of guilt and regret over the things we meant to do and didn’t. And December may be the worst month of all because, in addition to our unfinished tasks from the previous eleven months, we now have a mile-long Christmas to-do list staring at us.
I believe God has more for us in this season than long lines, burnt cookies, tangled lights, and a wrecked budget. I believe He wants to fill us with a fresh sense of the wonder of Christmas and give us peace from the worries of Christmas. Let me suggest some ways to add wonder back into your Christmas.
A weary cashier, a discouraged coworker, a sulking teenager—look into their eyes and speak a word of encouragement before you move on to your next budget meeting or cookie swap. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve just kept a divine appointment prepared by God specifically for you.
Stick to Your Convictions
Identify what you want this Christmas to mean to you and your family. Now, look at your schedule and ask, Which activities contribute to my Christmas values? Which aren’t all that important and may even interfere with celebrating the way my heart wants to? Take charge and be true to what you value most about Christmas.
You never know how God might speak some Christmas wonder into your life today. In the church choir? He might be there. In the blare of the mall’s Christmas marching band? He might be there also. In the sigh of a weary waitress? He might even be there. Listen. Do you hear what I hear?
Check Your Baggage
Will you be in an airport this season? If so, watch the travelers as they enter with their heavy loads. They grunt, sweat, tug, and maneuver with one goal in mind: the check-in counter. Once they exchange their luggage for a weightless boarding pass, they become different people: smiling, unencumbered, ready to enjoy the journey. What baggage weighs you down today? What load is preventing you from experiencing wonder? Jesus urges you to check your bags with Him today.
Quench Your Thirst
We can be so focused on getting the tree decorated and baking cookies for tomorrow night’s party that we forget to focus on God. No matter what else is on your to-do list, commit to spending just ten minutes with God today, and tomorrow, and so on. You’ll be surprised by how thirsty your heart is for His company. And, I believe, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your focus returns to the things that matter most.
Shine a Light
Does it feel as if no amount of Christmas lights can overcome the world’s darkness? Maybe people felt the same way that first Christmas. But God entered that darkness—in person, as a baby—and that means there is hope. God is present. He is with us. Darkness cannot prevail against His light. Evil cannot triumph over His goodness. That’s the true wonder of Christmas. Tell someone else.
The gift buying and the gift wrapping, the baking and the indulging, the school plays and the office parties … well, you probably don’t want any more reminders! My point is, don’t do them. They will wait. For 24 hours, treat yourself and your family to a lazy, do-nothing day. Rest is one of the gifts God offers you. Will you slow down enough to accept it?
Photo by Flickr (Julie Gibbons)
About Kim Crabill
Kim Crabill is founder and president of Roses and Rainbows Ministries, Inc., and Community COFFEEs (Conversations of Friends of Faith to Encourage and Equip). She has traveled nationally for more than 20 years, speaking at retreats, at conferences, and to Bible study groups, and has been interviewed on national TV and radio. Kim’s message and passion come from her personal experience of longing to be used by God yet feeling unusable because of past abuse, anorexia, diet pill addiction, and depression. Her mother’s deathbed challenge set Kim on the path of daring to be and do what God had purposed for her, a journey she wrote about in her book Burdens to Blessings. She is also author of Burdens to Blessings: Young Adult Edition, Infinitely More: Your 40-Day Ephesians 3:20 Adventure, A Cup of Christmas, A Cup of Hope, and A Cup of Freedom.
Kim is married to Lee Crabill, and together they have two adult sons. For more information about Kim Crabill and her ministries, visit www.rosesandrainbows.org.