by Joanie Butman
When Bing Crosby wrote It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, I don’t think he had neck braces or fracture boots in mind. No, he was probably envisioning something more in line with a Norman Rockwell or Currier and Ives print. Those scenes are charming for sure, but what isn’t visible is the frequently messy process involved in the effort to create them. Yet, if you peak behind the lights and tinsel, that’s exactly what you’ll find. As much as we might like it to be, life isn’t tidy or orderly, and neither is Christmas – far from it.
Creating the perfect Christmas is not for sissies or the faint of heart – it’s for the delusional because it doesn’t exist. Well, it does, but it doesn’t resemble the postcard version we put so much energy into producing. This year my husband’s marathon efforts to transform our house into a Christmas paradise aggravated a pinched nerve in his neck landing him in a neck brace, and my girlfriend tore the ligaments in her ankle during our annual foraging to collect berries for decorating. This all before any shopping had even started.
No doubt about it, the sprint towards Christmas is definitely on. Even the hardy are taxed by hectic schedules, crowded stores, harried shoppers, temperamental Christmas lights, and to-do lists lengthier than Santa’s Naughty and Nice list. Someone asked me this week how my ‘Christmas’ was going. “It’s only December 8th!” I responded. “It hasn’t even started yet.” Apparently, it started without me, and I was late getting out of the gate.
Christmas isn’t supposed to be stressful. It’s meant to be about peace and goodwill towards men. Isn’t it ironic that the preparations for the arrival of the Prince of Peace generate such angst? That tradition seems counterintuitive. Still, many of us are so busy chasing the perfect Christmas we forget that what we really need to ‘do’ is be still and let Christmas find us – in our hearts, so that we can be filled with peace despite the chaos of the season.
We also need to remember the importance of choosing to make time for God – especially during the Christmas season with so many distractions pulling us in different directions. We need to choose to rest in His presence (and presents), allowing Him to refill and reenergize us with His peace and goodwill so that we, in turn, can do the same for others.
Even Bing Crosby knew Christmas begins in the heart. When we can feel the peace of Christ permeate our soul, it will definitely begin to look a lot like Christmas – regardless of the date.
Soon the bells will start
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the carol that you sing right within your heart
May God’s presence saturate your soul this holiday season and throughout the new year, so that the song in your heart echoes with His love, joy and peace to all people on earth.
Off to join the maddening crowd…..