Two things happened on Saturday, December 1st:
- I woke up hyperventilating about all there was TO DO and how much it was going TO COST and how many people there were TO MAKE HAPPY.
- Matt and I walked to the window, as the sun was just coming up. “Snow!” I said. Big flakes were softly covering the earthy. Lovely.
Let’s call this emotional whiplash.
It has taken me a lot of years to call December what it really means for me, as a woman, and that is more work and strain. There have been times, in the past, when I’ve felt resentment about this added weight to normal living. Why do I have to do all of this? Why do I have to think about all of this?
But then I opened my Bible and saw that God loves feasts and festivals. Don’t you know that all the way back in Bible times, Israeli mommas were fretting over all there was TO DO and how much it was going TO COST and all the people they needed TO MAKE HAPPY?
Celebrating is work.
So I’ve decided to wrap my arms around December and give it a big embrace. I’ve set down resentment and have picked up the word “responsibility” instead. I want to open my home to my visiting children and make extra food and bake more than usual and buy fun presents and decorate and go to parties with people I love and worship and wrestle with the checkbook to make it all work.
“Raise your right hand. Will you be the mom who will carry the weight of responsibility to make the Christmas celebration happen for your family?”
“I will,” I say. Solemn face. Game face.
But I did say, “Lord, what I need from you is encouragement. Because feasts and festivals, on top of the normal challenges of life, threaten to pull me under.”
You know what he did. He encouraged me. This morning I woke up with a memory verse in my head, the way you put on a coat you haven’t worn since last winter and find an unexpected $20 in the pocket that you know you must have put there but you forgot.
David sings this robust tune, after God has delivered him from all of his enemies:
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. (Psalm 18:29 NIV)
December is a big brick wall, and all of the moms stand at the bottom of it on December first –all of us breathing into paper bags. But listen to David!
With our God we can do this.
With God’s help we can make sure everyone has clean underwear, and we can bake sugar cookies and wrap presents.
One time I was home for Christmas, and my sister-in-law put on an apron, set up her tablet with Christmas music playing in the kitchen, and set to work happily cooking in the kitchen, with a little dance in her step as she moved around. Her joy in the celebration was so beautiful and contagious, that it sucked me in and gave me energy to participate.
God has joy like that, too. He just loves, loves, loves to celebrate the coming of his Son. He loves for us to remember and to remember big, with all of the frills. So I think if we hang out with him and sing the songs he’s got playing, well, we’re just bound to catch some of his contagious enthusiasm and undiluted joy. The work load won’t change, but maybe the energetic company will make it feel like a pleasure.
With our God we can do this thing called December.