“Christmas is not only getting too commercial, it’s getting too dangerous,”
Linus – A Charlie Brown Christmas

It’s no secret that Christmas isn’t about Jesus anymore. It’s as if we need to elbow and push and shove our way through the season in search of a small glimpse of the true meaning of Christmas. Maybe a group of Christmas carolers will knock on our door this year, surprising us with a beautiful, harmonic, rendition of “O Holy Night.” Maybe our children’s church will perform a humble play of the birth of Jesus, complete with homemade sheep costumes. Unfortunately, these precious moments tend to only be sprinkled in between the hustle and bustle of, well, everything else. Picking out the tree, Santa at the mall. The cookies. The parties. The gifts. Everything. Else. It’s no secret that this time of year causes stress. And depression.

Stress? Depression? When we are supposed to be celebrating the One who said, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light?”(Matthew 11:30). The One whose joy is supposed to be our strength? (Nehemiah 8:10).

It can happen to anyone. Even to the mom who bakes cookies for every widow, neighbor, friend and postal worker that delivers her packages this time of year. Even to the one who seems to have it all together. Even if it seems like we are doing the right thing, sometimes we need to pull back the reigns and figure out what is really going on.

What memories will our children carry throughout their lives from the Christmas season? A frantic, disheveled mom or a peaceful, joyful, patient one?

“And the angel said unto them, Fear Not, behold, I bring you good tidings of great JOY,”
(Luke 2:10).

It was a great joy that night in Bethlehem when Jesus was born, even though there were plenty of things to complain about. An angry king who wasn’t thrilled about the birth of Jesus. A manger, in a stable that would seem to so many, unfit for a king. Yet joy was born.

This Christmas season, let us show joy to our children, even when we seem to be bogged down by the demands, pressures and unreal expectations that can easily beset us. We can invite them into the kitchen with us as we bake our holiday meals. If they accidentally add two tablespoons of baking soda instead of two teaspoons, we’ll try our hardest to smile and laugh instead of cry. We can volunteer our time this season, sharing with our children the joy of giving to the needy. We won’t need to worry about greed and disappointment in their lives because even if they don’t get what they want for Christmas, they will gently be reminded of the less fortunate. Pray that God will show you this season how to keep the joy in your family and let your light shine!

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