fickle hearts and the Cross

During this Christmas season, one would think that drawing near to Christ was easy. There are concerts, gatherings, gift-exchanges, cookie exchanges, craft shows, the annual production of the Nutcracker, and of course, Church services. How can a person miss Christ? Simply by being too busy. Dear Ones, in our attempt to find perfection in the holiday, filling our schedules with good things, we miss the simplicity of the season.

Instead of our hearts growing three sizes like the Grinch, we find our hearts becoming fickle. Our overcrowded schedules make us cranky, we start criticizing, and we turn away from the peace the season is said to bring. While I am not suggesting to do away with all of the festivities, I do offer the perspective of selecting only one or two things in which to participate. Selecting the best from the good, the decision to be present with your family and friends instead of trying for perfection.

Growing up we had two outside traditions during the holiday season. My mom, grandmother, brother, and I would take the commuter train into Chicago the day after Thanksgiving to see the window displays in the stores along State Street. Afterward, we would go to Marshall Fields to eat in the Walnut Room under the Christmas tree. It is one of the sweetest parts of my childhood. There were chestnut vendors on the corners, carolers dressed in Victorian costumes strolling the sidewalks. The people we passed were hustling, but still courteous. It set the mood for the holiday season.

Then on another day, usually during Christmas break, the four of us would drive back into the city to attend a performance of the Nutcracker at the McCormick Center. The whole idea of these traditions were to build the anticipation of Christmas, like I wrote about yesterday, It’s beginning to look a lot like. . .

Best Beloved, at the end of this Christmas season, reflect back and think of the things that brought you the sweetest joy. What made you a bit crazy? Are these things that can be adjusted or removed entirely from the Christmas agenda you have each year? The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas hold opportunities to rest, reflect, and reset your focus before the new year. When we keep busy we don’t allow the Lord to come into our hearts, much like the innkeeper who had no room.

Sweet friend, allow yourself room for exhaling, being still. Even if it means sitting in the car in the garage for a minute or two before taking in the groceries. Close your eyes, breathe in and out and ask God to meet you where you are. Ask Him to open your eyes to see the joy of the season. The joy of the Reason. Just invite Jesus in, let Him give you rest.


About gretchenr17

Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. Writer, farmer, fellow sojourner... at every turn I learn a bit more about God's wild mercies.
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