Saturday, December 28, 2013

Crappy Christmas?

So we are a few days past Christmas, and the typical conversations have begun to occur: How was Christmas? What'd you get? Was it everything you hoped it would be? Let the Post-Christmas Complaining begin. 

"I didn't get what I wanted." or "The gifts weren't even close to comparable"
"So and So didn't call or even send me a card."  
"I was stuck at home" or "I couldn't go home." 
"I only got one day off" or "I had to work for part of the day." 
"It was rush, rush, rush and run, run, run - the whole day is a blur."
"The kids were fighting, the kids were sick"
"The kids acted like such children!" 
"It was too hot", "It was too cold", "The food just didn't turn out right." 
"The kids where with my ex, and I was stuck with 
family that drives me crazy."  
"It just never felt like Christmas to me"
"I just couldn't get into the Christmas spirit"

If that was your Christmas it was probably crappy, you missed it completely, and it just might be no one's fault but your own. Congratulations, you've completely forgot what Christmas is actually about - and it isn't you! Seem harsh? OK. I'm not judging. I've been there - and I was wrong. If that's where you are stuck, and if you claim to be a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ, then you are wrong too because you chose to miss the joy, the praises, and the worship of the season. Christmas is a time to honor God for He is and for what He has done. It's a time to remember the day that changed everything. The whole Old Testament leads to the manger, the cross and the tomb. The New Testament points to them too. It's not the treasures under the tree, the treats, or travel to be with friends and family. It's joy and praise for what God did, and for what He continues to do.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for
 all the things they had heard and seen...Luke 2

What if it's just been a rough year? The death of a child  or a spouse or a friend. The death of a marriage or a friendship or a dream? Maybe you still don't have a job, or you hate the one you've got. Do you have toxic people in your life and unhealthy relationships that serve only to shackle and stifle you. Is there a chasm of anger, hurt and unforgiveness that separates you from people you love?  It might be that you're on the verge of financial ruin, or possible unemployment, Is your health is in shambles from a long term illness or chronic health condition? Have depression, anxiousness and worry stolen your joy? Is infertility and the shame and self loathing that often accompanies it your current cross to bear? Are you deep in the trenches of life with small children, or hormonal middle schoolers, or hot headed and drama filled teenagers? Maybe you face the challenge of being the adult parent of an emerging adult who is fearless, fiercely independent and sometimes clueless.  Perhaps your child is a prodigal or your spouse doesn't share your belief. This may have been the year that you became an "in law", an empty nester, a grandparent, or a retiree. Life might just be changing faster than your mind can process and harder than your heart can handle. If this is you, then cling my friend to the HOPE that is promised at Christmas. The manger held the promise of the Resurrection and the hope of a restored relationship with our eternal God.

Glory to God in the highest and on earth PEACE to men on whom
God's favor rests...Luke 2

Peace in the struggle, Peace in the storm, Peace when the night is it's darkest. Hold tight to Christmas HOPE. Hold tight to it all year long. God is faithful in His time to fulfill all of His promises. Christmas is a call to worship. And worship is about God, and not me.

Help me today God to hold on to the Hope that Christmas provides. Give me a heart of worship, and let my worship be found pleasing to you. Amen

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