There's something about the holidays that makes everything a little something special. There's the lights, the movies, the red lipstick, and the Christmas carols (links all posts from this month). I know that for me the break seems hardly long enough for me to get all of the fun Christmas traditions done. I must make sure that I bake lots of cookies, purchase and wrap every present, watch many Christmas movies, go to all of the Christmas parties, and somehow also rest in Christ.
The task of Christmas is almost too much for me.
The load of accomplishing every Christmas joy weighs on me sometimes. I want to do everything this Christmas break and made a very long list of the things to do. But with every passing day, I don't do all that I thought that I should do. Things take longer than expected, and new events come up that I didn't plan on. How can I do everything when these little "nothings" keep taking up my time? How can I celebrate Christmas just like I want to when it is only two days away and I still haven't done everything on my list? The pressure of making Christmas extra special makes me feel a little bit empty. The need to get everything done ruins my joy.
I remember that as a little girl, I loved the "Christmas Spirit." I loved ohhing and ahhing over the glossy American Girl catalog. I loved dancing around the house and taking lots of pictures when we put up Christmas decorations. I loved making gift lists and baking cookies, assembling gingerbread houses and seeing my whole world dress up in lights. And of course, I loved opening presents!
But as I grew older, I found the "Christmas Spirit" harder and harder to feel. I lost the wonder and the childlike joy, and so I just kept trying and trying to get it back. I would do all the more Christmas crafts and traditions, and I listened to Christmas music galore! But it didn't always work. Granted, sometimes it did, and the happiness that came with those treasured Christmas memories still makes me smile. But many other times, I felt disappointed at how I grew too old for the "Christmas Spirit."
Do you ever feel that way?
Something occurred to me this past week, though, something that changed the way I thought about Christmas and timekeeping in general, and something that sounds a lot like the title of my blog.
I may not be able to do everything this Christmas, but in everything I do, I can be with Christ!
And that, my dear friends, is the real Spirit of Christmas. It is Immanuel, God with us!
Because, let's face it, we can't go back to the way Christmas was, and we can't control the way Christmas is. Joy can't be forced, and peace isn't necessarily a clean schedule. Christmas is so much more than we give it credit for.
It is Christ with us!
And this changes everything!!!!
When we live with the Spirit of Christ, we can have joy even in the mundane car rides and bumper-to-bumper traffic. When we visit with Christ, wrapping gifts and making cookies takes on a new meaning and joy! When we walk in obedience and love of Jesus, the One born for us, true peace and community form in even the most difficult places.
Guys, I think we've found the Christmas Spirit! And it is Jesus!
And so, as Christmas waits for us in two days, let us embrace the Christmas Spirit. Let us embrace Jesus! Talk to Him, be with Him, for He is always with you! He has come! Immanuel!
MERRY CHRISTMAS! I love y'all so much!