I don't know about you, but I'm so busy this time of year I barely have time to breathe let alone be merry. Forget about gathering around the hearth, my family is scattered around malls or frantically wrapping gifts under the tree.
This is a time of unbridled joy, but also a time of unparalleled stress. I feel it, you feel it, we all feel it. Christmas gifts have to be perfect, dinner has to be Instagram-worthy, our home has to look like a Hallmark card, and...why did my four year-old just take all of the ornaments off of the lower half of the tree? Why did the outdoor lights just burn out again?
We can be burned out on Christmas long before it ever arrives. It's only natural. Christmas isn't just a holiday; it's practically a full-time job.
It's our job to make it perfect--for our kids, for our parents, for everyone who depends on us.
Here's the thing, though. Christmas is never perfect. Or rather, it's only as perfect as you allow it to be. Lights will burn out, kids will misbehave, the turkey will get burned.
And that can be perfect if you let it. Today's mini-tragedy is the hilarious story you tell every Christmas. Yes, this Christmas it can seem like the stress is just too much, that the pressure is just too great, but that's why it's so important to remember what all of this is for.
It's for us; all of us. It's about the greatest gift that any of us have ever received. It's about salvation in the form of God made flesh; the birth of the Messiah.
And while he opened the gates of heaven to us, he also showed the way for us to make our world a little more heavenly.
Just as God needed to become human to show humans how to live according to his word; our words and deeds--especially at Christmas--can show others the love that Jesus embodied.
He taught that whatever we do for the least of our brothers, we also do for Him. All we need to do is look around. Maybe it's volunteering at a food kitchen, maybe it's something as simple as getting together with a friend you haven't seen in awhile.
This time of year isn't just stressful, it is also sometimes unfathomably lonely for those grieving the loss of a loved one or those who feel that they're not loved.
The greatest Christmas gift we can give them is to let them know that they are loved. Just as God gave us Jesus to let us know how much he loved us, so too can we give the gift of kinship, companionship, and fellowship.
Jesus taught that any time two or more are gathered in his name, he is there. This Christmas, be there with him, with those who need you the most. Make time for them even if you don't have any time to spare.
Just be there...for them, with them--together. Let them know you're always there for them, and especially this time of year, when they might need you the most.
This Christmas, let the light of human connection light your home. As you gather together, let your presence be the present.
May God bless all of you and grant you a joyous, blessed, and very Merry Christmas.