I have fond memories of dancing around the living room as a girl listening to Burl Ives singing Have a Holly Jolly Christmas as it erupted from a record playing on my mom’s stereo that took up about half the wall in the dining area. Christmas did indeed feel like the best time of the year.
For most kids, Christmas is filled with anticipation, dreams, and excitement. It isn’t until we get a little older that we begin to realize the complications that the holiday can bring. My oldest son found himself in tears last weekend over the Christmas lights. He checked the strands before helping decorate the bushes and light post, but one strand on the post refused to work after it had been wrapped around. The whole process had not gone as he had foreseen, and he was feeling a bit devastated.
We had a little talk, and I shared how the older we get, the more things there are that try to steal our joy at Christmas time. These complications can often serve as a major distraction from the true satisfaction that Christmas is intended to bring. “Buddy, every time a Christmas task frustrates us, we have a choice: a choice to remember why we are celebrating, or the choice to wallow in our frustration. If we are doing something that only brings us a headache, then maybe we should rethink doing it.”
In Luke 2:10 we are told the angel told the shepherds he had good news of great joy. Don’t let your Christmas traditions get in the way of the joy of that first blessed Christmas day. Certain cookies may not get made, pictures may not turn out the way we had hoped, but if we remember to focus on the joy, our hearts will be prepared to overcome whatever difficulties we may encounter; for in the City of David, there was born to us a Savior, Christ the Lord.
**This post was written for the Sherwood Oaks advent blog. You can read daily entries if you are interested by clicking here.