“I’m so excited to finally be on Christmas Break!”
“I just love the holidays and hate when it’s all over.”
“Christmas is my favorite holiday!”
I’ve heard several of the above statements recently. Do you agree with these? Is Christmas a beautiful, enjoyable, restful break time for you? Is it a time where you pause and think of the true meaning of Christmas? Maybe it’s a happy, yet hectic time for you made up of fun events and holiday activities? Is it a time that is busy and beautiful, yet deep down feels lonely and empty to you? This season can be any of the above. What is to you?
This year, for me, this season has been different than usual. I’ve experienced some beautiful moments, but faced some very sombering ones too. My husband faced some health issues recently which prompted a couple of trips to the ER. Those experiences and the need to try to prevent him from having any additional stress have added more to my plate. I usually get a little stressed anyway with all the shopping, events, and in general as a parent of a special needs child. I try to counter the stress by preparing in advance to have the presents bought, wrapped, ready. I try to have the holiday food menu planned, prepared ahead of time and the house deep cleaned before my son is out of school for the holidays.
There is no “holiday break” for me. Once Landon is home, it’s pretty much full time caregiving for the next three weeks until he returns to school. I truly do try to maintain a positive outlook even in the hectic times. I usually tell myself if I could survive five months of Covid pandemic when school shut down, I can survive anything. Sometimes though, my humanity reveals itself. My husband’s recent health issues added to day to day life and Christmas chaos and wham…the stress hit me pretty hard.
Then one day I heard a teacher say “I’m so happy I’m on Christmas break. Now I get to relax.”
I immediately felt a sense of envy. I said to myself “must be nice, wonder what that’s like.” In that moment, I really wished for “a Christmas break.”
It was a momentary thought that left me feeling sad. I typically am not one to have a pity party, however, I truly longed for a break. Overwhelmed is an understatement for what I was feeling. I was exhausted.
I found myself saying “God, it’s not fair. Why can’t I have a break too?”
As I prayed, I felt the Holy Spirit gently whisper, “go ahead, lie down, rest.”
So I listened.
It was the day before my son was out for Christmas holidays so I took advantage of the opportunity. I hopped up on to my extra soft bed, climbed under several blankets and closed my eyes. After a few minutes, my goldendoodle-Asher-who is my shadow- peeked over the edge of my bed and decided he needed to join me. He jumped right up onto my bed and parked himself beside me- his cream colored fur blending in with the heavy fleece blankets and quilts of the same color. Asher watched me with his knowing, brown eyes. He seemed to know I needed a break from the stress. He also seemed to know I needed a little lift and his joyful presence would do the trick. He was right. Asher just “gets me” what can I say. As I was looking at Asher piled in with me among the blankets, I felt peace slowly fill me.
In that moment, I felt God gently remind me that peace is one of the many reasons why He sent Jesus to us as a little baby many, many Christmases ago. In that moment, He reminded me His gift of peace is because of His immeasurable love for me and for you.
It’s because of His love that we can have rest and peace.
It’s because of His love that we can experience His comfort.
It’s because of His love that we are inspired to share love with others.
I don’t know what you are facing this Christmas. Maybe things are going well for you or maybe they are not. Whatever the case is, I pray you are able to rest even if it is only for a short time. I pray that as you do, God’s presence will fill your heart and mind with His peace. I pray you will experience his comfort and joy. I pray His love surrounds you and fills your heart to overflowing. As your heart is filled with these things, I pray you are inspired to share His love with all those around you. May you always know you are loved immeasurably by the Savior of the world who came to Earth as a tiny baby at Christmas.
May God bless each of you, friends, at Christmastime and always.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. ( 2 Thessalonians 3:16)