I love Christmas! I love the trees and the lights, the carols and the food, the gatherings and the wrappings, the hustle and the bustle - I love it all! But if the truth is told, sometimes I like Christmas more January through mid-November. Sometimes I like the idea of Christmas more than the actual Christmas crush. Every year I try - generally unsuccessfully - to simplify the holiday. It all becomes not small like a baby or huge like a Savior, but heavy like a duty and tiring like a treadmill. It can indeed be a struggle to keep CHRISTmas in the holiday.
Being fully human (and fully God), Jesus understands just how heavy life can be. He experienced it in ways I don't dare even try to imagine. In Luke 21:34-37, He warned us to "be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with...the anxieties of life..." His advice? "Be always on the watch." In truth, He was referring to much more than just self imposed holiday mayhem. I imagine He has a kind of sad smile when He watches the stress we allow His birthday to create.
Mary is my Christmas roll model. A young girl far away from home and family, she gives birth to the light of the world. The guest list is unimaginable: donkeys, cows, sheep, shepherds, kings. She "treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19).
This year I will heed Christ's warning and follow Mary's example. The wrapping paper will go on with appreciation that there are things to wrap and in anticipation of the joy of the unwrapping. The cards will be sent with a pray for each beloved addressee. The hurry will remind me that I have somewhere to go, someone expecting me. I won't do it perfectly. I'm only hoping for some success, for some self-aided, God-granted rest from the rush - some time to gaze upon our Savior.