As the end of the year is fast approaching, we may peek at our calendars with mixed emotion. Little excitement and mostly dread, or little delight and mostly stress, may lead to grumbling through the holidays.
And we may even wish we could skip right past to January. If you know the feeling, then this bit of encouragement is written with you in mind.
Each year, when the end of November rolls around, I too struggle. It has improved over the years, but there’s usually an inner-battle going on, as we move fast and furiously into winter.
Staring down at the calendar, and what remains of the year, is an exhausting thought. Busyness tends to be the inescapable problem.
Every yes, is inevitably a no somewhere else, and yet, there’s little time to say yes to me. Rest is hard to come by in the busy seasons.
I have to fight the urge to grumble, and I must fight even harder to stay present. I want to enjoy, and live into the moments that come, despite the demands of holidays.
If you’re anything like me, you can relate, and you may even understand what I do; that we’re not perfect people. We fail, we melt down, we worry, we sometimes burn out.
And more than ever, I’m reminded that I can’t do anything apart from God. When I try to do too much, it only leaves me realizing just how much I can’t carry on my own.
I don’t want to live through this time of year in a funk, or just barely make it through, only to feel burnt out and run down by the new year.
Expectations and high demand are draining, and more than ever I feel pulled to rebel against the impending ‘must do’s of the Christmas season’ just to save my sanity.
For this reason, I have tried to lean into a season of Advent instead of Christmas, these last few years.
The reality though, is that demands will come, and busyness will press against us, until we’re forced to make a choice in how we will show up.
We can pass through, or we can be present. We can burn out, or we can slow down. We can rely on our own strength, or ask God to sustain us with His.
Personally, I don’t want to race through December to be left limping in January. I want to take my time, and be present in the moments.
I don’t want to lose sight of the reason for the season.
However, living present is difficult to achieve in a deeply burdened world, in deeply burdened families, and with deeply burdened circumstances.
I don’t have all the answers, and I fail all the time, but I do know this; I’m grateful that Jesus loves me enough to wipe my slate clean. He makes his mercy new to me each day.
He came here to this broken world, for sinners like me, and for sinners like you.
He takes our imperfections, and makes them white as snow. Perhaps, instead of grumbling about the imminent winter, this year, I will instead look forward to snow, if only for this reminder.
- If you’re struggling to enjoy the holidays
- If the Christmas lights and music in November, bring out your inner Grinch
- If your calendar is making you cranky
- If your to-do list is stressing you out
- If expectations are weighing you down
You are not alone
But these aggravations may also be signs of needing to slow down, so that you can intentionally lean into solitude, while also leaning into Christ.
If the the holidays are bringing more stress than joy, then perhaps it’s time to show up in a new way, surrendering our attitudes and outlooks to God.
Just maybe, we’ll find in doing this, that our grumbling will turn to joy, as he sustains us through the day, the week, and the season.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
For even more encouragement to get you through the holidays, be sure to check out these other posts: