I felt like I was drowning. It was a week before Christmas Eve—early Saturday morning. Our tree wasn’t up, our lights weren’t hung, and only a few gifts were wrapped. Some gifts still weren’t bought (not my usual pattern: I’m an early shopper). I had baked absolutely nothing. I hadn’t even decided what to bake. Because I felt so behind-schedule, I was short with the kids and impatient with their father. I couldn’t even enjoy a Christmas party the night before because I resented all the work it took to bring dishes for the potluck. (Brutal honesty here.)

As I sat down for my quiet time, I wrote, “Christmas is rushing toward us like a tidal wave.” A few minutes later, I opened my Bible to Matthew 11 and sought the next paragraph. (For more on how we do our quiet times, click here.) Do you know the last paragraph in Matthew 11? I literally laughed out loud when I read it.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  -Matthew 11:28-30

I warped peace and contemplation
into pressure and obligation.

I had warped this season, which is supposed to be about peace and contemplation, into a season of pressure and obligation. I needed the kind of rest that only comes from Jesus.

Three character qualities of Jesus stand out in these verses: gentleness, humility, and restfulness. Go back and read the verses again. Do you see it? Those who tie themselves to him (the yoke) learn from him because of his gentleness and humility, but I believe even those who just happened to come near Jesus when He was on earth experienced these things as well. Isn’t that why people were so attracted to Him?

So I can learn that peaceful kind of attitude?

I don’t have time for that! Didn’t you see how behind schedule I am right now?!?

Deep breath. Let’s go a step further here. As Christ-followers (because Christian means “little Christ”), we have Jesus in us already (John 15). That means His gentleness, humility, and restfulness (among other things) are already part of our spiritual composition, already existing in us even as they continue to mature (re: Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23).

If we are already little Christs…

If the Holy Spirit guides and empowers us (John 16:12-15)…

If our standard for living is Jesus’ example…

Then our lives should, like His, exude these character traits regardless of our circumstances. It should be that anyone around us experiences gentleness, humility, and restfulness just by being in our presence and especially by interaction with us.

I don’t use that word, “should” lightly. I really can’t stand it. But in this instance, I had an obligation to change my attitude. “Should” works.

So I made a list. I checked it twice. It had nothing to do with others being naughty or nice. Actually, I wrote it on my bathroom mirror, and I check it every time I stand in front of the sink. On my wish list and my gifting list, I have three things:

  • Gentleness
  • Humility
  • Restfulness

It’s a simple practice, but it’s working. It keeps me in prayer, keeps me taking a deep breath and resetting my attitude—especially about what’s decorating my house and what’s in my oven.

I want my Christmas
to be about gentleness,
humility, and restfulness.

I want my Christmas to be about gentleness, humility, and restfulness. Saturday morning before my tea got cold, I submitted my holidays to the Lord Jesus, and asked for these three things— not just for myself but as the gift of presence I will give everyone around me.

One small step to exchange pressure and obligation for peace and contemplation at #Christmas. (click to tweet)

What about you? How do you cope with the hectic pattern of the holidays? Share about that below, or share a verse that has helped you manage the season well. Thanks!

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