Happy December!! The holiday season is upon us!
And while this includes festively dressed carolers walking down Pearl Street, beautiful Christmas lights around town, the Nutcracker ballet, fresh baked Christmas cookies and piney wreaths, and the Boulder star on Flagstaff being lit for the world to see, it also brings stress.
I see it written on the foreheads of people I interact with – creases of worry and panic hewn into their faces while shoulders hang heavily burdened with the desire for generosity. You can even hear it in their voices – clipped tones of impatient and frantic to-do lists or deep croaks from do-gooders sipping on peppermint mochas that barely coat their sore and winter-scarred throats.
You see it in stores like Target – red shirted and khaki wearing employees exhausted to the bone wear false smiles of cheer and customer service, stocking endless boxes of holiday lights and rearranging holiday wrapping paper displays, driven by the elusive promise of meeting fourth quarter sales goals. You hear it over mall stereos, the repeating and overly familiar refrains of the seasons being retold by various artists with unusual time signatures and in different keys as those listening begin to think, Are there really that many ways to sing “Jingle Bells?”
Welcome to the holidays… I guess.
Don’t get me wrong – I love this season. I love winter wonderlands (c’mon snow!) and tinseled pine trees and ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ and James Bond marathons on USA and Hanukkah candles and ‘8 Crazy Nights’ and family and togetherness and really, really great food.
But this season, my heart is heavy. It feels cracked around the edges with the wear and tear of disappointment, of rejection, of accidents, of tasks left undone. I’m reminded of my need, and my hope, for Jesus. I must choose to dwell upon my thankfulness rather than the desires left unfilled.
This time of year, above all others, is the ultimate reminder of what we should value. I firmly believe that it is when things are most exaggerated that we are able to see past the hold they have on our lives, and so during a season that totes a label of consumerism and duty, we can instead see through to generosity and caring. When financial stress threatens to make our brains explode, we can look towards provision and intentional spending. When family comes into town and awkward holiday reunions abound, we can remember that we belong to something, someone, somewhere.
So in honor of the holiday season, here’s my current favorite Christmas song (Santa’s Lost His Mojo – Jeremy Lister) – hope you enjoy! It always puts me in a good mood.