by Ruth Hallstead
Christmas comes with a lot of expectations. Gifts promised or assumed, family traditions, seeing old friends, lots of food… the list goes on and on. Most people have a special place in their heart for this season, and any disappointments can be hard to take. Over time this can cause cynicism or simply ambivalence rather than the enchantment that used to accompany the Christmas season. In “Last Christmas”, a certain apprehension can be heard. “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. The very next day, you gave it away.” The singer has been hurt, and they haven’t forgotten that heart wrenching feeling. What is holding you back this Christmas season? Are you worried that you won’t have time to check everything off your list? Perhaps this is the first time you’re going home since summer and you’re concerned that too much has changed while you’ve been gone. Maybe you’re remembering relatives’ and parent’s prying questions, and you just don’t want to go there again. This worry can hold you back from experiencing the true joy of Christ’s birth. It can distract you from what really matters. So this Christmas, don’t hold back. Even if you still feel pain from something LAST Christmas, jump fully in. Surrender completely to the Lord, and prepare for His coming with joy and hopeful expectation. Keep in mind the words of Mary after finding out she was to be a mother “Here am I, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). She was scared. She was unsure what was coming next, except for one thing: God was with her. And that was enough. Whatever happens THIS Christmas, we have the same promise. God will be there, and Christ is coming. And that is cause for one heck of a no-holds-barred, Christmas morning as a kid, we made the playoffs, kind of celebration.