By Mike Ennis, Faith Community Fellowship
JOY TO THE WORLD! The holiday season is often SO full of joy and expectation. It is supposed to be a season of thankfulness, joyful times, gift exchanges, etc. However, I have found that often it is a difficult time for many. A season full of lights and festivities can be one of the darkest times in a person’s life. Is this what Thanksgiving and Christmas are really all about? Is there really hope for me?
Take a look at Brandy’s story below. Perhaps you can relate….
I often find myself in bewilderment during this season of holidays and celebrations. Everything around us changes, creating conversation that captivates our attention- the weather, the decorations, agendas, but most of all our expectations. The truth is, we expect it all to go as planned. Deliciously cooked meals, fancy packages wrapped in festive paper with the perfect gift inside, and trees dressed with just the right amount of ornaments that it reflects the lights enough to take our breath away. And when all of that transpires the way we expect it to, we feel like the perfect season of peace and tranquility has risen up to meet us.
But when it doesn’t… cars are honking at one another in the madness of holiday traffic. Folks scramble and find themselves frustrated because they can’t find that perfect gift. Or, your finances this year are where you wonder if you can even purchase gifts at all. Maybe you have just enough for the holiday meal but while cooking, the rolls burn, the kids might be fighting, something was left at the store and not even Grandma can fix the madness. In the background you can hear “Deck the Halls” playing from the radio, but all you really want to do is deck your pillow with slumber. Suddenly there’s chaos. Sometimes, holidays feel heavy and those expectations blow out the fire of excitement we started with.
For me, I can quickly forget how to celebrate the simple joy of the season that is available to us in communion with a God who loves me. I have to remind myself that what this is really all about is a God who loved me enough that he left heaven to come and live with mankind….with me. Because he came, he understands everything I am going through. He understands all the expectations that are realized and those that are not.
This Christmas season, I’m going to drop the expectations and settle into a new outlook. One that requires me to slow down, breathe in the time with those around me, and purposefully seek out joy together within my amazing community. I’m going to choose to push past the hustle and bustle, tucking away my anticipated time clocks and perfectly planned to-do’s so I can focus on and soak in the peace of the season.
Maybe this Christmas, you can unwrap some expectations of your own. Maybe everything is not what you hoped it would be but you can know that there is a God who loves you and because he loves you, he came to earth to demonstrate that love. THAT is the story of Christmas! If you need a place to step away from it all this season, even for a brief moment, I invite you to find a local church in your community. If you don’t have a church you attend regularly, I am happy to help you find one in your community or you are welcome to join us at Faith Community Fellowship on any one of our three campuses in the area. We’ve pulled up a seat just for you where you can unwrap your expectations, or even your disappointments, in the presence of a God that loves you and find the joy that He intends for us all to find together. If I can help you connect to a church family in your community, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then, Merry Christmas and I’m praying you find all the joy and peace you need this holiday!