I remember when we first moved to Georgia, Mr. D was involved in the Men’s Ministry at our new church . He came home one Saturday morning after the meeting and shared how they had discussed the huge stress wives experience at Christmas. He innocently asked if I was stressed!

Maybe I hid the fact that I was stressed, but that question opened up a huge river of emotion.

“Yes,” I burst out, “wives ARE stressed…we have gifts to buy and wrap; (FYI you haven’t handled your gift list till you add 240 of your favorite students), we have seasonal groceries to purchase and vast amounts of baking and cooking to do to keep family traditions alive; (FYI cooking is not my favorite thing to do); we have decorations to locate and install in order to create a wonderland in our homes (FYI decorating is not my thing);  and please don’t forget the lights out in the yard, or the bows on the mailbox , as well as the Christmas cards IN the mail box (all beautifully addressed and stamped with seasonal seals); and of course there are  teacher gifts, postman (or postwoman) gifts as well as tokens of appreciation to personal vendors such as hairdressers to purchase and….” By the time I got this far I was in floods of tears! Needless to say poor Mr. D stood back in shocked amazement (and all wives know the above list is not even complete).

His response was just what I needed. A big hug and a planning session to see how he could help! Each year since then, he is right at my side to help me.  And together we prepare for the season. (He is THE best decorator.)

Christmas to most still seems to be lights, shopping, gifts and food.  Busy busy busy!

May I offer a different perspective?

I challenge anyone reading this to ponder these questions.

  • What is Christmas supposed to be like?
  • Does the King of Kings really care if all the items on my to-do list are completed?
  • What does Emmanuel long to see as my Christmas focus?

The answer to all three can be summed up this way.

God wants us to focus on HIM!

“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.  Psalm 86:11-12

He wants to be shown as the STAR of Christmas.

He wants to GENERATE the list because He knows the real priorities.

He wants the focus to be on HIS SECOND COMING not on His CRADLE.

What does this look like in our homes as we begin to prepare for the Christmas season?  For starters, He must be the focus of the decorations. In our village this year we incorporated an old family Bible open to passages in Isaiah that remind us that He is the Mighty God, not just a baby! He wants our Worship not our tinsel Wonderland. (Perfect opportunity to teach our grandchildren as they study the scene.)

We use the nativity in a subtle way to reflect on the reason He had to come. Next to our simple porcelain manger we place a nail. He came to die to redeem each of us. Not only should we respond in worship, but we should desire to serve Him because He purchased us with His royal blood!

Lastly, we know He wants us to change our focus from the past to the Future. He came once, but He is coming again! Do we anticipate with joy and expectation the imminent arrival of The King the way society anticipates the coming of “Santa” to deliver gifts each Christmas Eve while children sleep?

He IS the Light of the World. I must ask myself if His light is shining as  brightly in my life as the lights outside my house. Does His light in me clearly show others the way to Heaven, or is it dimmed because of “Christmas clutter”? How much  time have I spent preparing my heart and polishing my spiritual walk with Him compared to all the decorating, shopping, wrapping and cooking ? (well, I could leave off the last one….)

I am convicted and humbled by these questions. It is off to the prayer room for me to re-align my focus and make sure my life and list reflect only Him.

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”  Revelation 4.8