My turkey is already thawing in my fridge, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Ready or not, the holiday season is coming and with it comes all the expectations, traditions, and general busyness that is wrapped up in the season. The music, the food, the togetherness, the shopping, the concerts, Elf on a shelf insanity, Santa, etc…
Do these things come as welcome interruptions to our normal lives or as intrusions? Or do they fall somewhere in between?
I am generally a calm and peace loving person by nature, that is my role: the peacemaker. I go out of my way to avoid conflict when it is at all possible: it’s a sickness.
However, there is something about the holidays that brings out a side in me that is not something you would brag about in a Christmas letter. I have a lot of expectations for the holidays, they need to be special and inviting, include the many traditions that are important to me, include the foods that I have deemed “right,” include fast moving compitent cashiers and free delivery. I know that the song says “the streetlights blink bright red and green,” however, I’m really only interested in the green ones, the red ones are for the rest of you.
I become incredibly opinionated during this “most wonderful time of the year.” I’m easily offended. I tend to sped my precious girlfriend time to sit and chat about how disappointed I was or outraged I had become or shocked I am…
The complaining can go on and on and it doesn’t stop when I’m alone. Sometimes the most avid listener to my complaining is myself. I can reck havoc on someone’s character and worth inside my own mind for the benefit of making myself feel better or simply enjoying a good rant.
I think it has to do with the fact that I fear disappointment during this season. I want the magic and the mystery and the “Ah-ha” factor. I work so hard at engineering the holidays that when someone disagrees with me or simply has another opinion or heaven forbid slows me down in this quest, watch out!
I’ve discovered that becoming offended, angry or frantic during the holidays and just in general, is a choice. Crazy is not inevitable. It may feel like the season is out of control but I certainly don’t have to be.
This year, I’m choosing not to be offended, not to get angry, not to be frantic. I’m choosing to put others needs in front of my own. I am choosing to refocus how I view stress, people, and expectations. Why? Because that is where peace hides and I want peace in my life. I don’t just want to talk about how I want a more peaceful life, I’m going to choose to be intentional about it.
Philippians 4:5-7 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I need God to guard my heart and my mind this season. Friends, don’t lose sight of the fact that God will help you through this season. He can teach you gentleness. He will bring you joy. He will give you peace that transcends all understanding but you need to ask him.
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” This Christmas song is a beautiful reminder of how we can effect the world around us, God helping us.