I’m just not in the mood.
I don’t have a good reason to be in a funk. I haven’t dealt with hard stories of grieving, hurt or loss or broken relationships like others I know, but I’m still struggling to be in the mood for Christmas. I usually really enjoy Christmas. The specialness of remembering the greatest miracle, making others feel seen and loved, the music, the beauty of decorations, and the thrill of hope. I don’t want celebrating Christmas to turn into a “have-to” but remain a “love-to.”
I keep trying. But I haven’t been able to take a deep breath lately due to an extremely busy season. I feel like I need a good long exhale and about a month on the couch with my feet up before I can even think about Christmas.
I’m tired and I’m not feeling very festive. Maybe you can relate?
I’m trying to be better about noticing when I feel tired, stuck, or emotional about something and ask God what’s going on in my heart and what He wants to reveal to me. Preparing for Christmas is definitely one of those areas that I’ve been asking Him for revelation and help.
I wonder if the feelings I have are part of the point of the manger? Weary. Heavy laden. Tired. Burdened. Distracted. Busy. Not really feeling it. All reasons why Jesus came for God’s people. Jesus — Immanuel, God with us in every feeling and circumstance — is the ultimate reason we have to celebrate God’s goodness.
As I’ve processed my lack of Christmas cheer, God reminded me how He called His people to celebrate Him many times throughout Scripture. Celebrating was a choice, not a feeling, and not always convenient. But God’s people obeyed His specific calls to celebrate because they understood that celebrations, or feasts as they are called in the Bible, were not just about eating certain foods or gathering in particular ways — every feast was meant to point to Jesus.
Guidelines for feasts and festivals are especially prevalent in the Old Testament. For most of my faith walk, I wanted to ignore the Old Testament, thinking it didn’t really apply to my life. But there is such a rich and beautiful story at work when we look at Scripture as a whole and remember that God is the same from the first page of Scripture to the last to how He is present in our lives today.
With just a little research, I’ve learned that the feasts God asked His people to celebrate annually were clues pointing to His Son. These times of celebration and feasting are connected to our being able to celebrate our salvation, the resurrected Savior, and His imminent return. To praise, to sing, to dance, to eat, and to remember. A rhythm of feasts reminded God’s people to make space for Him. To recognize His love and His good plan. It took preparation, planning, and energy to celebrate in the ways God had instructed, but it was worth it because they were inviting God to be with them.
Each feast God created connects us to a way we can celebrate Jesus’ birthday and the hope of His return. Here are a few ideas based on the holy feasts that are helping me get in the Christmas spirit:
Sabbath: I’ve planned ways to simplify my life so I don’t continue to over extend myself. As I accept God’s call to rest, I make space to sit in the quiet so I can hear the Lord and see things from His perspective during this miraculous season.
Passover: I’ve done my next right thing and continued on with putting up our Christmas tree. It’s a lot of work but I feel enveloped in God’s love when I sit in the dark with the glow of the tiny lights and remember how Jesus hung on a tree for me — the cross of Christ reminiscent of the original cross on the doors of those first saved in the first Passover.
Unleavened Bread: I’ve baked in the kitchen with my daughter and been reminded of how Jesus is the “Bread of Life”.
First Fruits: I’m praying through what I can do for someone else this month rather than continuing to think about myself. Sometimes the lack of Christmas spirit is because I forget how to give from what God has given me.
Pentecost: I will set aside time each morning to pour God’s Word into my dry Spirit. To re-read the story of Christmas and prepare my heart for Jesus, asking Him to make a way in my heart and renew me with fresh fire.
Feast of Trumpets: Trumpets were used to call the workers to stop and come to the temple so I will crank up the Christmas tunes and worship in my living room. Let’s make a joyful noice not only because God deserves our praises, but also because we need to sing and dance and celebrate who God is and what He’s doing in us.
Whether you are familiar with biblical feasts or not, we can all ask God to speak to our hearts — through His Word and through the Holy Spirit within us — and guide us in making this season one of meaningful celebration.
It doesn’t matter if presents are perfectly wrapped or if cookies get baked, but it does matter that we devote time to celebrating who God is and the gift of His Son to this weary world. Indeed, that is a reason to rejoice!
How do you choose to celebrate if you’re not feeling very Christmas-y?
Ruth Mills says
Great connections Stephanie. I was blessed to have a Dad that taught the thread of Christ from “table of contents to maps” in the Bible. The totality of the Bible is yet another wonder of our God. And how precious to actively tie the feasts to Christ’s purpose in His birth! Blessings!
Wonderful message. Stephanie.
Thank you for the thoughtful reminder of the feasts.
Wonderful reminder of what it means to celebrate Christmas
Thank you so much, Jennifer! I’ve been trying so hard not to be overwhelmed with holiday preparations. Yet, every evening I’m exhausted and I lay awake and think of all there is left to do! I see myself in your words and I will try to learn from them. May you be richly blessed this Christmas!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Stephanie thank you for this wonderful word. I don’t be in mood for Christmas. It the hassle of either going on line to buy Christmas presents or the local shops. Then shops are busy. Not all this not my cup of tea nor my Husband’s. But I do it for mainly my Nieces and Nephews. So as I have present for them and my Dad. Then my Husband looks at me because I can’t drive. When we go to shops to buy some of the present. He will say is this last shop we have to go. Then he will look at me say hope you got for everyone. As all this fuss for one day. I know how much he hates this time year not for reason to with the Christmas story in the Bible. But for the hassle of going shopping. The shops busy and car parks busy. I am the same. He does not like it. You get from him. What or who not got for it not being got. As shops to busy and car parks. He likes me to have an idea what I will buy them so as I know when get to shops what shops to go to. So as we are as short as possible in them. To get away home from the shops being so busy. So we both just like the Church services for Christmas and carol services. The true meaning of why or Messiah came to earth. To hear the lovely story about Christmas from the Bible the true meaning of it. Not the hassle of it all in having to buy presents. Then going round giving out the gifts on Christmas Day the night before wrapping them up in Christmas paper. Its one long day and we be glad when it over. We say that’s it over for another year. Why can’t it be about the Churches doing and telling about Christmas from the word of God and carol services. Not all the hassle of buying presents for family giving them out on Christmas Day. It alot of Hassel. But we do delight in seeing our Nieces and Nephews faces as they open their presents. Say to ourselves at the same time it’s lovely to see them smile at getting our gift for them. Yes the hassle was worth we say. Then we say at least we don’t have to do it until next year again. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little
Ariel Krienke says
This year I’m trying to appreciate the time of advent and be sure my heart is ready for Christ’s return. But I don’t want to forget Christmas either showing God’s love for us. But I wanted to be sure I didn’t get caught up in the world’s idea of Christmas. So thank you for this lesson.
Beth Williams says
This year I was struggling to get into the Christmas mood. Partly because my new job changed drastically & I’m not liking it-even though I know God gave this to me. Guess Hubby’s emotions about holidays were getting to me. The biggest problem I have is holidays are about family. We don’t have family around us anymore. Add to that we both work hard hospital jobs. We see lots of sadness this time of year. As Christmas gets closer I decided to break myself out of the depression mold. Started listening to Christmas music & singing loudly. Music always lifts my spirits. Going to plug in my “Charlie Brown” tree & sit under its lights. Going to glorify && praise God for ALL He has given me over the years.