I don’t know about you, but his holiday season has started out a bit rough for me.
Now, I have done my usual grumbling about having to listen to the same awful Christmas songs year after year. I have cursed the cold weather as it creeps into my bedroom in the early mornings leaving me begging for my warm blankets well past the snoozed alarm clock. But this year I’d gone further.
I realized I’d been full-on scroogey-mc-humbug for at least a week after my roommate asked oh so innocently, “What happened to make you hate Christmas?” It was truly an honest question and that’s what made me stop and think.
My roommate, bless her, loves everything about Christmas. And her cheer only made me want to embody more Scrooginess. If she wasn’t such a sweetheart I might have done some bodily harm to her…well, only just a little, but still. (And, not to change the subject, but I just used “bless her” as a southerner would. I would be lying if I said this does not mildly terrify me. The south, it seems, is sinking in.)
Awareness is Half the Battle
I took a moment to reflect and take a better look at my attitude.
“Why the heck am I overboard cranky?” I thought.
Then, it came to me: media saturation. Here it is barely December and already I’d had it up to my eyeballs with the holiday commercialism that social media, media, and stores were pouring down my throat. Instead of avoiding it or accepting it as I’ve done in the past, this year I became a petulant teenager raging against society’s desire to force-feed me cheer and good will to men and wrapped presents.
“How dare they tell me how to feel!? How dare they make me feel like I’m a cold b*** just because I don’t have the urge to spend thousands of dollars on crap that most people stop using after January 5th!? I’ve loved on people all year long, dang it. I’ve worked hard to keep in line with God’s will every day of the year…”
God interrupted me right there and said “*cough*…just like you’re doing right now?”
“Eeeek… What, God? Crap! You just HAD to call me on my B.S. again! Ugh. I deserve that.“
After a few deep breaths I decided He was right and I had to let go of my judgmental self-righteousness. The truth is, I love me some Jesus all year long. And for most of the year the media tells me I need to put Jesus down. I have fortified my relationship with Him to withstand those outside worldly pressures. But Christmastime brought a whole other battle, for which, I was not prepared.
The Sneak Attack
The big trouble started with a red cup on social media and moved to the Syrian refugee debate and seems to be transferring over to the Xmas vs. Christmas lunacy and presidential candidate circus. That’s right, I’m not just bracing against secular battles, I’m fighting against “Christian” battles as well. Spreading my defenses too thin has left me one ragged and exhausted Scrooge.
Choosing Christ in the face of non-believers is one thing. It is another to choose Christ in the face of my-way-or-the-highway Christians. These are the folks that demand the rest of the world practice Christianity the same way they do (with very specific red cups and without the Latin translation of Christ, namely “X”).
Their outspoken demand that the secular world conform to Christian world views and traditions make me cringe. This is not a display of the Christ I know. He gave an invitation to the world not a demand. God wants our hearts and not our cups or grammar or control of the government. Focusing on this, I began to fear what the world must think of “Christians.” And that fear festered and grew into scroogey-mc-humbug.
But fear is not of God. He can reach through all the misleading messages and grab on to the hearts of anyone He chooses. Who am I to doubt His plan and ability to love because of a cup?
Keeping My Eyes on the Prize
With all the focus on the traditions and symbols of the holiday season, I let my focus drift from what is really the most important: my personal relationship with Christ. The traditions of the season are nice and hold some nostalgia, but nostalgia cannot replace our relationship. Traditions are no substitute for intimacy.
I took my eyes off of Him momentarily because the WORLD cried “Pay attention to Christ!” But the enemy can come disguised as an angel of light as well. Knowing this and reflecting on the miracle of God come to earth (Immanuel!) I have regained my peace and joy of the season.
This is one more reminder that nothing can replace the power of love and mercy and redemption of the Lord. His glory shines and gives peace that nothing in this world can replicate.
It’s not about the nativity. It’s not about the tree. It’s not about the cookies. It’s not about the presents. It’s about His presence in our lives. Keep Him close – leave the world behind if you must. Remember, He left heaven to reach out to you.
|Ginny Priz is a Christian coach, writer and speaker. Ginny has overcome her own drama with a prosthetic arm, alcohol, panic disorder, and codependency. She has a passion for guiding others toward the same peace and freedom she has come to experience. Ditching drama is possible for anyone “armed” with God and the Serenity Prayer! It’s never too late to start your own Serenity Journey.
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