When I wrote the following devotion (inset below) for our church Advent booklet, I gave it the title of “Overwhelming Anticipation” because I have been feeling… well, OVERWHELMED at all there is to do to “get ready for Christmas.”
My husband refers to me (and all the others like me, male and female) as the “Christmas magicians.” You know who you are: the ones who are responsible for decorating the house, buying and wrapping the gifts (sometimes even your own!), baking the special treats, mailing cards and gifts to friends and relatives, and generally “making Christmas happen.”
Some of you CM-types have it all together… but for me, it all becomes incredibly overwhelming at least once during the holiday season (roughly November 1st – January 1st). I am tired, and I’m only halfway through! And then I feel guilty because there are many out there with so much more on their shoulders… single parents, people separated by deployment, people dealing with chronic illness… and here I am complaining about juggling my blessings!
It’s time for me to take a deep breath.
Here’s a peek inside my soul this month:
Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier every year. The stores start putting out Christmas decorations in September and by the time November 1st rolls around, our senses are inundated with “the holiday season.” I hold out and refrain from playing Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving, but some radio stations begin playing holiday music much sooner.
I want to put it off, to hold Christmas at bay for just a little while longer. I’m not ready to fit another thing on my “to do” list. And yet, this seems strange for someone who truly loves Christmas and the reason for celebrating. I love the decorations – the trees, the lights, the songs, the candles – I love the smells in the air. As a child, I could heedlessly partake in the anticipation of Christmas. There were no worries about how to “fit it in” with my other responsibilities; the coming of Christmas was an intricate part of my life that blended seamlessly with play and school and yes, sleep and dreams.
O Come, Thou Dayspring come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
Advent – that is what I desire, a season of anticipation and preparation for the Christ. He is the Messiah, the Savior. He didn’t come into our world to be compartmentalized and separated from our daily lives. Emmanuel means “God with us.” The excitement and anticipation shouldn’t just belong to children. May we all, old and young alike, open our hearts and our lives to Jesus.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel
*Words in bold italics from the Advent hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel