Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Come Thou Almighty King"1 (Lyrics)
Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)
Do you find yourself making lists as Christmas approaches? … things to do, places to go, and things to take … menus, grocery lists … lists of names and gifts …
If you're like me, crossing off an item gives us a feeling of satisfaction: we've accomplished something worthwhile. The downside of list-making, though, is that the season becomes a giant chore. It's a race against time. I attempted to combat stress by starting earlier. I make a note when someone says that they'd like something (yes, another list). I watch for items to go on sale. Little piles grow bigger throughout the next few months. To be honest, it hasn't eliminated the need for lists.
One of my lists involves Christmas cards. When I express admiration for the homemade ones that I receive, I'm told how easy it is to make them. I faithfully keep the instructions for a whole year, then I add the necessary supplies to one of my lists. I begin in plenty of time — after all, I have to keep ahead of the season. Surrounded by paper, glue, and sparkly things, with Christmas carols playing softly, I settle down to create a work of art. Then, I find that I have ten thumbs and can't follow the simplest directions. I need to buy cards after all, and I add them to my list.
It takes days to decorate the house. Though we never use the front entrance, I like to surround it with greenery. We use the back door, so that has to be decorated, too. An open-concept house means decorating the entire space. With two levels, I must decorate downstairs as well, and, of course, the stairs themselves. And why not the bathrooms? I really must do it all before the first Sunday of Advent. Then I'll have December free to enjoy and to worship Christ the new-born King. Right?
But I grow weary. Obviously, I attempt to do too much. Do you have the same problem? I've heard others say that they'll just give money this year, or that they won't bother with a tree any more. I don't think that's the solution. We just need to remember the reason for the season: to glorify our Lord.
Let's ask God what He wants us to do. When we're called to account for our deeds, will Jesus be impressed that our house shone with bling? He came to set us free from all our self-imposed rules. Let's use the gifts that He gave us to do His will. There are specific tasks that He wants us to accomplish in our walk with Him, but that's all we're responsible for. He doesn't want us to tire or stress ourselves. When we do only His will, He gives us the time that we need and fills us with all the energy that we require.
Prayer: Father in heaven, help us to stop the madness and listen for the angels singing in the distance. As the sound grows closer, open our eyes to Your glory. May we celebrate the birth of Your Son in the appropriate way — the way that You want us to. Amen.