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A Merry Little Christmas

December 21, 2021

Have yourself a merry little Christmas;
Let your heart be light.

Have you noticed how the greatest seasons of joy and celebration are often also the most busy and stressful times of year? A lot of times our life feels like the scene in Home Alone when the family oversleeps and rushes frantically to get out the door.

Take, for example, the salesperson trying to hit their quota for the end of the year. Instead of enjoying time with family, they work late into the night, hoping to take time off after Christmas.

Or, the mom who wants Christmas to be perfect for her family. She spends hours decorating, shopping, cooking, addressing Christmas cards, and planning the events that surround this special day, only to find she feels overwhelmed and under water.

It’s even true in the ministry world. There are pastors planning Christmas Eve services and working hard to make sure volunteers are coordinated and everything is perfect for church members and guests. There’s a tendency to get so much on the plate that, in spite of being a minister, it’s difficult to keep the focus on the true reason for the season.

Amidst the family, friends, food, presents, parties, programs, and end of the year goals, this season provides more opportunities to feel overwhelmed.

As the stress builds, the charge to “let your heart be light” can feel like an impossible task.

But let’s take a step back together and imagine an even more chaotic Christmas than the ones we experience today.

Imagine Mary on a donkey, traveling the five-day road from Nazareth to the small town of Bethlehem. She feels each crack and rock on the road beneath her and holds herself steady on the donkey at nine months pregnant. On the dusty road, her stomach churns as she considers the census ordered, and the taxes she and Joseph will have to pay before the birth of their baby. Finally, Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem only to find that there is nowhere to stay. Mary’s heart sinks, and the contractions start. The only place to go is a filthy stable, full of animals, dirt, feces, and hay. The stench is pungent, and setting is unfit to welcome the King of the universe, but nonetheless, his cries pierce the night.

Perhaps, Mary felt like she had failed Jesus already, as she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and placed him in a manger. To her, the first Christmas must have felt overwhelmingly chaotic.

To her, the first Christmas must have felt overwhelmingly chaotic.

So, what did it take for Mary to keep her heart light? I wonder if as she looked into Jesus’s little eyes, it caused her to stop, rest, and remember the grace that would save the world.

During this Christmas season, take some time to stop, rest, and remember. It doesn’t matter if everything is perfect. Take a deep breath and enjoy your friends, family, this season, and the meaning behind it.

Merry Christmas. Let your heart be light.


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