Getting Christmas Off My Mind (and Into My Heart)

It’s 8 days till Christmas, and I’ve officially gotten into the holiday spirit! In other words, I finally started shopping for gifts and making lists and checking them twice (or thrice – isn’t that a funny word?). I tend to be an organized person and can usually find whatever thing hubby or C misplaced (E’s anal like me, haha), but I don’t normally make to-do lists. Which is why it was very odd for me to actually write one this week. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I turned 40 last month, and the ‘ole brain cells aren’t workin’ as well these days. Or maybe it’s just the result of having too many things to do and too many places to go in such a short amount of time.

Anyone else feel like a chicken about to lose its head? 😛

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Image courtesy of bandrat/freedigitalphotos.net

I was at Target earlier when I heard Christmas music playing overhead, and I had to remind myself, Yes, this is the most wonderful time of the year! But with the way I was rushing around and stressing about all the things I still needed to buy and all the places I still needed to go, I was so not feeling the wonder.

Maybe you’re having a hard time, too.

It might not be the busyness of the season that’s locked up your Christmas spirit; it could be a struggle with finances or loneliness. Maybe it’s a battle with sickness or a broken relationship. It could be the loss of someone you love. Whatever the situation may be, it’s time to remember the Hope of this season. The Hope given to this dark world when God chose to limit Himself to become one of us in order to show us His limitless love.

That’s what I’m going to focus on in the next 8 days. Presents, good food and gatherings are nice and fun. But even after the gifts are unwrapped, the meals are digested and the company is gone, we have the Hope of Jesus to hold on to. And ultimately, it’s this Hope that makes life worth living and celebrating.

Take a listen to Pentatonix’s powerful rendition of “Mary, Did You Know” – it’s sure to get Christmas off your mind and into your heart. 🙂

How do you get into the Christmas spirit?

Disappointment & Hope at Christmastime

The family and I ventured out of sunny and warm California this week to come to the midwest. When our plane touched down, C looked out the window and exclaimed, “There’s no snow!!”

Oops. 🙁

The trip we had been planning for months so we could visit our relatives and play with snow was not turning out the way we had expected. Both E and C were (and still are) very disappointed in the sunny and warm (according to the natives here) 40 degree F weather and lack of white, fluffy stuff. Even I’m disappointed, especially since I found a great deal on snow pants (thank you Target!) and managed to squeeze four pairs of them (along with gifts and all of our other clothing) into the luggages.

Although our bubbles have been bursted by this non-white Christmas, I know our disappointment is minor compared to the unexpected circumstances of the very first Christmas. Can you imagine being pregnant and having to travel miles and miles only to reach your destination and discover there was no place for you to stay? And what about having to give birth to your first child and having nowhere to place him but in a feeding trough for animals?

Talk about disappointments.

You’ve gotta hand it to Mary and Joseph for persevering through the obstacles and setbacks they faced. I can only imagine how surprised and frustrated and exhausted they must have felt as newlyweds and soon-to-be new parents. But through it all, something kept them going. I think that something was hope.

Hope that what the angel Gabriel told them would come true. Hope that the baby in Mary’s womb was the long-awaited Savior of the world.

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix/freedigitalphotos.net

It was that hope that inspired Mary to sing this song (from Luke 1:47-55):

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. 

From now on all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Yes, in this world we will face many disappointments of all shapes and sizes and throughout each season of life, even at Christmastime. But we also, like Mary, have so many reasons to persevere and to hope.

Hope that each new morning brings with it new opportunities. Hope that we can make each day more meaningful than the last. Hope in the love of family and friends to sustain us. Most of all, hope in God’s promise to give everlasting hope to each one of us through Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection.

That certainly makes up for a snowless day any day. 🙂

So here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Take a listen to this beautifully sung song, “Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix.

What are you hopeful about on this Christmas day?