The long-anticipated month of December is now upon us. I wonder, is it the most wonderful time of the year or just the most? Certainly, it’s to be the busiest month of all. Decorating the house. Trimming the tree. Putting lights up outside. Christmas shopping. Wrapping gifts. Baking Christmas cookies. Mailing Christmas cards. On top of the already insane list we all share, I’ve added a new job with a one-hour daily commute. More stress.
Where will I find time to stop and reflect on the meaning of the season? How can I get back to the peacefulness and simplicity that I enjoyed when I lived in Eastern Europe? I long for those Christmas holidays devoid of the commercialism, pure celebrations of God becoming man. For a few years in the early 90s in Romania, no Christmas decorations were visible, gifts were scarce, but the holiday was greeted with enthusiasm by people long denied the chance to even speak the name of Jesus. I joined the throng on Christmas Eve, trudging through quiet snow-laden streets to a church celebration with nothing but an a cappella choir and white candlelight.
My dear friend, Gordana, who is quite deep and much more profound than me, wrote about pulling out a nativity set and finding all the figures but one intact. Baby Jesus was missing from the crèche. She drew the connection that Jesus is often the missing ingredient from our Christmas festivities. She also blogged about having to clear the clutter in her house to make room for her Christmas tree, likening it to getting rid of extraneous stuff in our lives to make room at the inn.
It’s up to me to clear space in my life for Christ to reside in all His fullness, not relegating Him to a stable outside because I’m too busy. Too busy with the endless trappings of Christmas that I don’t invite the One the season was meant to celebrate. It’s not about finding time in our busy schedules. That will never happen. I need to intentionally make time, to set aside whole evenings for my favorite Christmas activity: sitting quietly on the sofa, with a fuzzy throw on my lap and a steaming cup of hot chocolate in my hands, listening to soothing Christmas carols and admiring the soft white lights on the tree. And reflecting on the most wonderful gift ever given.