I walked the mall yesterday while my daughter Gracie was at a birthday party. Should have been a great opportunity to get some Christmas shopping done as I waited, right? Wrong. Though I normally love to shop, I somehow felt strangely out of place in all of the frenzy and madness that filled the halls and surrounded the crowds of people.
Everywhere I looked stores, media, and advertising hype seemed to bombard shoppers with relentless reminders of what we “don’t” have and what we “need” in order to be “better.”
Yet, deep in my heart, I knew that God, in all of His goodness, desired simply to remind us of what we DO have and what brings TRUE peace, joy, and celebration in the midst of this season. After all, it is Christmas! Isn’t it “our” season to celebrate? Shouldn’t such an amazing time of year be reflected MOST through the hearts of those who believe in the Truth that it brings? Should greed be allowed to rule over generosity? Could rudeness ever be complete master over joy? Would the frenzied, hurried race of the season subdue any sense of peace that should naturally flow from the very reason we celebrate? My mind raced as I walked, I seemed to go faster and faster, yet never stopping to buy even one single gift.
This morning in reflecting back, I was tempted to feel like I’d wasted my time. Stress clung to my mind as I thought about all that still needed to be done. I felt the weight of inadequacy sweeping over me as I compared myself to others who had seemingly accomplished so much more by this date. Decorations still waited to be hung, shopping still needed to be done, social commitments, already on the calendar, begged for attention, yet in the midst of all, I stop.
The quietness of the moment filled my heart and I could almost hear God whisper to me, “less is more…less of this world leads you to more of Me. More of Me leads you to less of this world.”
Ah yes, that’s where life is. I breathe this in, and let it sink deeper, into my mind, into my heart, into my spirit.
So, it’s decided. This year, I’m making new choices.
This year, I will choose to:
let go of the expectations and pressure to make it all Norman Rockwell-ish,
give more generously to those in need,
extend grace to others,
believe the truth that I’m not a better parent based on how much I buy or don’t buy for our kids,
be content with what we have,
enjoy people more and things less,
find celebration in HIM.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
By: Debbie McDaniel