A simple Christmas — don’t we all, to some degree, hope for just this? For an opportunity to opt out of the hustle and bustle this season generally brings?
There always seems to be just so much to do. So many places to be. So much to accomplish. Gifts to purchase and then wrap and then deliver. Cards to order, sign, and send. Cookies to bake, gatherings to host, friends to see. Traditions to uphold, family to visit, floors to scrub.
But this year, many things are different, yet a few big things remain.
It reminds me of the analogy of “big rocks vs. little rocks.” The big rocks of our lives are to be placed into the bucket first. These are our foundations, our top priorities, and values: family, faith, treasured rituals and traditions. Basically, the big rocks are that which we hold most dear. Then the little rocks are placed into the bucket. These are the things that fill the rest of our lives: work, hobbies, activities, family management, and the like. Smaller than big rock items but still meaningful and important.
This Christmas, it feels like most of my little rocks are gone and all that remains in my bucket are the big rocks. And you know, it’s not all bad.
Often we look to Christmas as a kind of anchor for our traditions and celebrations, and this year many of those will not be able to happen or will need to be so modified that they will feel entirely different. But instead of throwing me off, I’m welcoming this rare chance for a simpler Christmas.
A cleared-off calendar, free of concerts, programs, and the need for coordinated outfits. No parties to host, clean, and cook for, purchase and wrap gifts for, or muster up the energy to attend. Fewer people to shop for and more people to pray for.
It’s as though all the extras, the small rocks, for better or not, have been removed, and what’s left are simply the biggest rocks — Christ born, family near, and love all around.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
Even in these ever-changing times, God is good, and Christmas will come. Will it look different? Likely. Will we grieve parts of our celebrations that are missing? Yes and that’s okay. Will we ever again have the chance to focus so clearly on the biggest rock of all – preparing for and celebrating the birth of Jesus? Maybe not.
So let’s take it. Let’s shift our focus, difficult as it may be, to entering this holiday season with courageous simplicity rather than grieving our no longer full schedules.
The simple truth is that Christmas faithfully comes to us no matter what.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
John 1:14 (NIV)
Post by Anna E. Rendell
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