The Christmas Season is usually a super hectic time of year at our house, besides the traditional stress that we feel during this season. I usually choose to add additional levels of stress by hosting an open house. I love hosting people in my home, and Jeff and I feel,it is a gift of love we can give to all our friends. For probably 25 years or more we have,, more than likely, had an Open House in our home, now mind you not every year, but a lot of them. Having a Open House during the holidays is not easy task.
I begin working about 60-45 days out. We shop most of the year for it. The house has to be cleaned from top to bottom for what I like to call, Model Home status, which if you don’t know what that is, it means the house needs to look like no one lives in it. So needless to say it’s a lot of work and a near possible task, that often puts a lot of stress on the whole family.
But this year, we are taking the year off. There will be no open house. In fact, there is even talk about just having a low key Christmas day and driving over to Wichita, eating Chinese food and going to the movie theater for the day to catch several movies we have been wanting to watch.. So we can just chill out with our kids and focus on spending time together while we honor what the real meaning of Christmas is. Either that, or we are going to spend the day in our PJ’s just relaxing with the kids and watching Christmas movies on the TV.
Everyone handles the stress of Christmas differently. The problem comes when we forget what the day is really all about. We can get so focused on, trying to get the best gift, or not having enough money to afford the Christmas you would like, or maybe it’s just missing that loved one that isn’t going to be at Christmas this year.
I remember one specific Christmas, times were really tough for our family, Amy was probably 6 or 7 years old. We had to struggle to get what little we could for the kids, and at the last minute Amy decided she wanted a Baby Alive, but there was no money left for such a gift, and as much as I tried to explain to her, that Santa had already done all his Christmas shopping, so it might have to be next year before it happened, she refused to listen to such an idea and was determined that it would come.
Christmas morning came and all of our presents were unwrapped, and as Amy looked around, realizing that all the presents under the tree had been opened, she stood up, and with both hands on her hips, she calls out with an attitude that told you under no uncertain terms that she was not satisfied with the results of her Christmas. “I know there is another gift around here somewhere”she begin to look all over for her Baby Alive that she was certain Santa would bring , but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
Maybe you were expecting something this Christmas and it isn’t going to be either. Maybe, there is no way you thought you would be where you are today, but you are. Perhaps the stress level is so high at your house, you’re not for sure you even want to celebrate Christmas this year. Let me encourage you to look to the reason for the season.
Christ came, born in a manger, not some palace like the people of that day expected. He was born to a mother and His step dad, not the expected family of that day either. His parents, had to run for their life because people were after Him. He came to die for a group of people that couldn’t even appreciate the sacrifice He made by coming to earth. But yet that sacrifice is the greatest gift we could receive.
Nothing went like the people expected that Christmas night, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” is the question asked even years later, John 1:46 but yet it turned out to be the best thing that any of us could ask for, because without it, there is no eternal life for those who trust in and rely on Christ.
Nazareth was just a small town of probably about 150 people, according to my research, with a majority of a Jewish population, the same Jewish population that rejected Him as the Christ. Imagine everywhere you go, being rejected? Christ doesn’t have to because it happened to Him. In fact the bible says, that He has been tempted and felt every pain we have.
So, don’t get discouraged and frustrated if things are not going as planned this season. Remember it happened that way on the very first Christmas as well. There was no room in the Inn for Jesus to be born, and Mary had to ride a donkey for who knows how many miles.
The bible tells us, that we need to have a “Whatsoever” attitude when we begin to get frustrated. You know, you have heard kids say “Whatever” when they are disgusted with someone’s attitude or comment. Well, I believe God wants us to have a Whatsoever attitude, He tells us that in Philippians 4:8 whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—think on these things, it tells us this is the only way to have peace, and not to be anxious is by bringing your requests to God and thinking on these whatsoever list of things. The good, the praiseworthy, the lovely and so on. I am sure that night Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph could have focused on the terrible surroundings the Christ child was born, they could have focused on what bad parents they were for the King of kings to be born in such a place, they might have even thought what did we get ourselves into, but I don’t’ believe they did. I think they had a “Whatsoever” attitude and choose to focus on the glory of the Christ child before them.
So this season, don’t get discouraged because you aren’t getting the present you wanted under the tree or everything isn’t just how you imagined it. In fact, don’t even focus on the ones who are not with us this Christmas. But focus on the one who told us in Rev 1:8 NIV “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.“ Remember, that the first Christmas all kinds of unexpected things happened, including the greatest gift of all Jesus Christ our Lord.