I just love Christmas, but lately I’ve been reflecting on how easily I can fall into the ditches of stress or guilt in this season.
I’m one of those people who starts playing Christmas music in October, writing a detailed gift list, and planning out new and exciting ways we can teach our children about the birth of Jesus.
But I have to be honest, even with all the excitement and joy that I feel about Christmas, sometimes I get overwhelmed when I see all the ideas out there – all the things I could be doing, but realistically can’t. And so I can flip-flop between stress and guilt – feeling stressed about trying to do all the things, and feeling guilt about not being able to.
The truth is many of the things on our lists at Christmas are good things – it’s good to put up lights, and buy thoughtful gifts, and make delicious food, and spend time with our loved ones, and go through an advent calendar with Bible readings, and decorate the house in a festive manner…
But it’s easy for Christmas to become about all the things we need to do, the roles we need to perform and the people we want to make happy. It’s easy for Christmas to become a list of items to tick off.
Christmas is about what God did, not what you do
But no matter what we do for Christmas – from the frivolous lights and tinsel and desserts, to the meaningful advent readings and church services and birthday cakes for Jesus – Christmas is not about us and what we do. It’s about God, and what he has already done.
The good news of Christmas is that God sent His only Son Jesus into the world, fully God and fully man, to live, die and rise again on our behalf. He sent Jesus to do what we could not.
There’s nothing we can do to earn Christmas or make it better. And there’s nothing we can do to ruin it because the good news is not us.
This Christmas, rest
So, whatever stage of life you’re in this year, whatever your abilities or limits, whatever the state of your bank account or family or house, rest in the good news that God sent His only son to live the life you couldn’t live, to die the death you couldn’t die, and to beat death once and for all.
Rest in knowing that you contribute nothing to what makes Christmas good. The good has been done. The gift has been given.
Whether you are celebrating with a mountain of gifts and food, or sitting on a cold floor with bread and butter, Jesus has come into the world, fully God and fully man, and that is good news.