I spent most of this past weekend getting my house decorated for Christmas.  I really enjoy it, but if I am being honest it can also be frustrating.  My son was helping me put lights on the Christmas tree.  We had plugged them in to test them and they were all working.  I kid you not,  we wrap the tree in lights, we plug the tree in and the top half is not lit, so we unplug, check the bulbs, plug everything back in and nope the top is not lighting up.  Now, luckily I had a box set aside for just this issue ( obviously, not my first try at decorating a tree) and after another 20 minutes of detangling and re stringing, it lit up perfectly. So I gathered up the long string of burnt out lights and ceremoniously threw them in the trash  – Whew – but annoying right?

Well, earlier that morning I was also talking to a friend who said ,”Tis’ the season to be merry and blessed or at my house today it is merry and stressed.” She started telling me the long list of what she needed to do and accomplish in the next few weeks so that Christmas would be perfect.  The expectations were high and unrealistic. It made me reflect on how I can do the same thing – see if I am honest that is my natural bent – hustle bustle, fighting perfectionism. BUT  We decided we wanted this year to be different. We know that although it should be a season of peace, this month can often make us feel more tangled up inside than those messy strings of Christmas lights. right?

So we talked it out and decided we were putting too much emphasis on accomplishing the tasks than enjoying the season.

See some people will dread the hustle and bustle that this time of year often brings and for many the holiday season comes with irritability, loneliness or depression. Then I think others love the Christmas season but too often worry, busyness, and unmet expectations take their toll.

In either case, as Christians who are celebrating this holy season, we have a decision to make.  We get to choose to get bogged down with the stress or bow down in worship.

Scripture gives us a beautiful picture of praise in Luke Chapter 2 vs, 13-14.  It tells us that when Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds sharing the good news…

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – all praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.  See the angels got it right when they joined the shepherds in praising God.

When we choose God this Christmas we focus on having a grateful heart.  We can then be better at showing the world love because a grateful heart leaves little room for aggravation at those long lines in stores or the tangled lights or worrying about finding the perfect presents or creating the perfectly decorated Christmas cookies.  A heart of worship turns our hearts to giving thanks.

There will lots of choices to make this month – what gifts  to buy, where to give and serve others and how many events will you put on your calendar and actually attend.  But the most important choice is choosing to be thankful for the gift of Christmas, Jesus.  For the gift of love, for his peace.

When our hearts are at peace, our holidays can be too.

Merry Christmas to each of you!

Blessings!

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