Merry (belated) Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful and joyous holiday.
The Christmas season always conjures up a mix of emotions for me. There are such tensions that exist in this season. Tensions like generosity and greed, rest and chaos, spirituality and secularism, and the list goes on. If you're anything like me, you get overwhelmed by the attempt to balance these tensions. And if you're anything like me, you long for the good of this season, but get caught up in the tug-of-war, rat race that our culture has created. The most tricky part is that our intentions are often good, but they lead us to the materialism and chaos that encompass this time of year.
This year marked our first year of staying home for the Christmas holiday. We have been married over 4 years, and every year (including engagement), we have traveled back to Washington to visit family and friends. We adore Washington and we love our family and friends, but there was something restful about the idea of staying home for the holidays. Avoiding packing, traveling, and hustling all over the state of Washington, sounded peaceful. However, instead of embracing the added rest, I bought into the lie that I had to have the picture-perfect home for Christmas. Before I knew it, I was caught up the in chaos of Christmas decorations, meal-planning, gift-buying, etc. All of these things were done with great intentions, but amidst the process, I realized that I could never achieve the "picture-perfect" home because I would always be longing for more.
As beloved Christmas cards filled our mailbox, I began to stress about the fact that we didn't create a Christmas card this year. I had decided weeks (maybe even months) ago, that I was not going to make a Christmas card this year. I thought it would be a good way to save money, especially since we have baby on the way. However, as more cards filled my home, the more I felt the pressure to create a Christmas card. And somehow I thought this was a good idea the week before Christmas! Ugh! I would come home from work and put in hours of time trying to figure out how to create a Christmas card inexpensively and quickly, all while having it demonstrate the same level of "perfectness" as the cards coming in my door. The more time I put into it, the more I realized it was impossible. I fell into the trap. I bought into the lies. I thought I had to do it all and be it all, because that's what this season is about. Oh, but wait, I had it all wrong! The impromptu attempt to create a Christmas card was an utter fail and a lesson in humility.
Peace and joy are words that are commonly used to describe this time of year. They are important reminders of the real reason of Christmas. If something you are doing does not bring peace and joy into this season, then it is not properly motivated and it is not worth the time or effort. My Christmas card flop led me to this realization and convicted me in the best way possible. It revealed my sinful heart by humbly reminding me that my strength does not come from within.
Decorating our home will always be one of those tricky balancing acts for me. In many ways it brings me great joy and peace. However, the joy can quickly turn into discontent and the peace can quickly turn into frustration. When this transition starts to happen, I know I need to stop. I need to refocus and readjust my perspective. I am not perfect and neither is my home. I don't need to be perfect, because my heavenly Father is perfect. I don't need my home to be perfect, because my eternal home is perfect. Jesus came to give us hope and to save us from our imperfections, weaknesses, and sin. That is where the joy and peace of this season comes from!
My holiday was filled with the tensions of this season. There were moments of generosity, rest, and spirituality. But there were also moments of greed, chaos, and secularism. We live in a world full of these tensions. We are human and we are sinful so there will be times that we fall on the negative side of these tensions. However, there remains hope, joy, and peace because of the amazing birth of Jesus - the true reason behind this time of year and holiday season.
I pray that your holiday was filled with the hope, joy, and peace of our great King. May we all remember the reason for this season and cling to that. May we also offer each other grace and forgiveness when the negative tensions of this season pull us in the opposite direction. Merry Christmas to you all!
p.s. Many of the decorations and furniture pieces are Dr. Handy Man creations. I can't wait to tell you more about each piece!