Christmas is fast approaching. On my way to work this morning, two people asked me if I was ready. It seems like Christmas has become an invasion that requires complex preparation, sort of like the D-day invasion of Normandy beaches during World War II. There are the gifts to buy and wrap, the cookies to bake, the programs and parties to attend. Each is good in itself, but the intensity and high expectation surrounding each piece puts a crimp in the holiday season. Some people just seem to go crazy with the stress of the holidays.
Of course, the first Christmas was a very simple affair: a mom, a dad, and a baby. The setting was a lowly stable, nothing fancy. There was a great sound and light show with angelic choirs, but the family only heard about it second-hand. Mary and Joe kept their focus on the baby. Later Mary pondered the shepherd’s words (Luke 2:19).
As a pastor, my Christmas celebration revolves around the worship services on Christmas Eve and Day. With the familiar carols and Gospel story, it is hard to deliver something new and spectacular. Many have told me that their deepest, most joyful Christmas memory is lighting candle in a darkened church and singing Silent Night, Holy Night. Tradition has depth that builds intensity year-by-year. The new and spectacular is overshadowed by the old and familiar.
I pray that you will have time to ponder, to reflect, to simply embrace God’s love for you. It might be late at night after the packages are wrapped, or early in the morning before you run last set of errands. The Prince of Peace is coming. He is coming for you.
Lord Jesus, break through the complexity of my life and grant me peace, your peace.