Jingled or Jangled?


Hey, everyone! It’s December 11th. Time for my annual holiday check-in to see how everybody is doing. We’re just two weeks away and I’m curious about your Christmas Spirit. Are you all sparkle, jolly, twinkle-jinglely or a Scroog-y bah humbug?

In year’s past on the Straight From The Heart(land) Podcast, this was typically the week of the year we vented. The week we shared how much we hated Christmas. Of course we didn’t HATE Christmas….but at this point in December, we hated all the Christmas fuss. The endless to-do list…to-buy list. The extra parties, programs, recitals and gatherings. Things that would be fun if they weren’t all shoved into the same 7-day time span.

We would bemoan the shopping and lines and wrapping and cards and the irony of how annoyed we were feeling at the efforts involved with making Christmas the most wonderful time of the year.

Are you feeling that way right now, friend? Does the next 14 days stretch out before you like a marathon worth of running to somehow accomplish in a sprint’s worth of time? So much, that you’ve changed your goals from enjoying the holidays to simply to surviving them?

If so, I get you. I know exactly what you’re feeling and I’m guilty of feeling it myself. It seems no matter how early I get started with Christmas preparations, I’m always in a panic on Dec. 11th. And that makes me cranky.

But, I believe there’s another option out there for us and that’s the point of this post. No rants about hating Christmas. I’m here with a solution. The thing that can make all your wildest Christmas dreams come true: rest.

Okay, before you stop reading, hear me out. I know you don’t have time to rest and I know if you rest, a million things won’t get done. BUT, what if you don’t? What if you don’t take a minute to slow down and reflect?

Sure maybe your to-do list might get checked off and your loved ones might have the most magical Christmas of their lives. But, at what cost to you? Isn’t Christmas about you, too? Since when did Christmas become about creating the perfect season for everyone around you while forgetting to enjoy it yourself? After all, Immanuel means “God with us.” ALL of us.

I was studying Advent the other day and I learned that Advent is about repentance, rest, joy and hope. Joy and Hope seemed obvious to me. Jesus came to save and that fills me with Joy and gives me Hope.

Repentance seemed totally out of left field, but I think it’s about getting your heart in the right position to begin the season with. And, apparently, when it comes to Christmas: hate isn’t a great starting place?!? So, yeah, time to repent.

And Repentance simply means to turn away from something and turn toward something better. So, I turn away from despising Christmas and my habits of overcommitment and stress….to something better, like, slowing down….margin, rest.

Back to rest. What if you purposed to insert a moment of rest into every day? A pause to reflect or catch your breath. It could be lying in bed for five minutes in the morning and thanking God for your many blessings. It could be finding a quiet place at lunch and pondering the wonder of Jesus’ birth in your heart like Mary did. Or maybe you go to bed early instead of staying up late to wrap gifts.

Whatever rest looks like to you, I hope you’ll take my challenge find some this Advent season. This goes for me too! Trust me, it’s not too late. We still have 14 days to pause, reflect, soak, and breathe. And, in doing so, we just might start to like Christmas again.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentle People! Happy Advent!