It’s 8:30 pm three evenings before Christmas Eve and I’m just starting to mix my first batch of Christmas cookies. I halved the recipe but the cookies still take up three cookie sheets. Something must be wrong. But that would be fitting, because that’s how this whole month has gone. Everything about December has been wrong, wrong, and a little more wrong.
I can’t remember an evening or a weekend where I had nothing hanging over my head since long before Thanksgiving. It wears me down. My service to others becomes nothing of a joyful heart and everything of grumbling and grumpiness. I run out of Christmas cards to send to my dear ones. I still have a Christmas present left un-bought, and the ones I’ve wrapped seem pretty lame. People at work start handing out goodies and cards and I have nothing to give in return. I’ve been wanting to chat with my dearest roommate from college since before her birthday in October, and it still hasn’t happened. When did I get so busy? And when did the “stuff” take up more time than the people? As my favorite singer states, “At the end of your life your relationships are all you’re got“. At the rate I’m not making time for my loved ones, it’s looking like I’ll be all alone at the end.
I’m the girl who loves Christmas music and starts listening to it in October, with sometimes a summertime binge. I don’t have a favorite Christmas song but each year there is usually one or two that are my temporary favorite. This year I can’t get “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” off repeat. Really? A whole advent season to prepare for God becoming man and all my heart wants is Judy Garland?
I get a little teary this evening as my heart asks “Where is Jesus in all this frenetic doing?” I know the answer before I have even finished putting the question into words. He is here. He is here as a baby. He is here as a king on his throne. He is here as a Wonderful Counselor and as the Son of God. The Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, the Everlasting Father, the Gentle Shepherd. The greatest Gift. It is not God that refuses to come into my Christmas. It is I that prioritize other things before coming to His table. I don’t know the last time I prayed. Somehow spending time with my Sustainer got put on my list at about the same level as scrubbing the shower–in theory, very important. But in practice, easily pushed down to the bottom of the list until you realize it’s been how many months since the shower was scrubbed?
That’s not what I want. But if that’s really not what I want, I would do something to change it.
I find I’m incapable of changing my own heart. I also can’t undo all my hours of Christmas parties and weddings and graduation dinner and shopping for gifts and so many good things added onto a full work week. And then I hate myself for complaining. I think how much easier it would be if I was a stay-at-home-mom and could have all day to bake cookies and find great gifts to buy, to pray and study my Bible, to be still. Why do I always, always think that I will always find the best in a different stage of life?
My advent may end up being a month later than the rest of the world, but here’s to January being a month of saying “no.” The decorations may be down and the presents unwrapped. Stores may have their valentine supplies out. But I will be anticipating the arrival of Jesus, and the day when all my time can be spent in His presence. Because the fact remains that while I get distracted by errands and bills and my never-ending “to-do”s, He remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. My lack of faithfulness does not nullify His faithfulness.
Lord, grant me faithfulness even in the small moments. Give me grace to spend my moments on the one thing that really matters–sitting at Your feet.