"Let us therefore be diligent to enter
that rest..." (Heb 4:11, NKJV)
In last Saturday's Nugget, I told the story of how my efforts to keep Christmas restful last year failed miserably. I had tried so hard to keep the celebration simple, to pre-plan everything, to keep the focus on the Reason for the Season, but in the end, everything was ruined.
Interestingly, the things that ruined our Christmas were things that were completely out of our control. Though I had pre-planned and prepared, not everyone in my family had done the same. And of course, the ice storm and ensuing flooded basement were completely out of our hands, as was the fact that the repairman couldn't come until during our celebration. And it was completely out of our hands that we would have to "buy out" a ruined water heater before having hot water in our home. Oh God, I tried so hard, but everything is going against us! God, don't You want us to keep You in Christmas?
I was in tears as we loaded everyone in the cars to go to church that evening, but I realized then that I had a decision to make: I could either dwell on the "spoiling" of all my Christmas plans, or I could open my heart to see how God was going to pick up the pieces. By the time we arrived at church, I had decided on the later. The decision filled me with peace. I was truly resting in Jesus.
This peace reigned in my heart for about 20 minutes. Until my dear niece had to be rushed out of the service with a medical problem. What about her kids who were in the program? How would they get home?
The turmoil lasted about 10 minutes this time. Then I remembered that we had room in our car to drive her kids home after the service. Why? Because my own son hadn't finished his Christmas shopping and we had been forced to take two cars to church! Beautiful peace reigned once again as I realized the wisdom of God's--and not "my"--plan.
There was another rocky point, however, when the water heater repairman informed us that we were responsible for replacing our rental water heater, and that the new one couldn't be installed for at least three days. Going through Christmas without hot water wasn't exactly in my plan, and neither was buying out a ruined water heater!
When the repairman left, my husband and I looked at each other. We were once again faced with the decision of either dwelling on our "ruined" Christmas, or giving it all to God. We again chose the later.
As the repairman pulled out of the driveway, our kids entered with their wrapped presents. We gathered as a family and spent the next 30 minutes giving glory to God. As we next congregated around the tree and the snacks and presents began to circulate, and I couldn't help but sit back and marvel at the sweet, sweet, Christmas spirit that filled my home. That's when I realized that this was, indeed, the perfect Christmas.
No, it wasn't the Christmas I had planned, but we learned something very important that night: Keeping Christ in Christmas isn't just about keeping things simple, pre-planning, and seeing the symbols of Christmas as pointers to the Messiah. It is especially about resting in Jesus, no matter what happens. It is, in essence, a decision to surrender all of our plans into His hands; to accept whatever comes along; to give all of our problems to Him and just go along for the ride.
Isn't that what Jesus' birth is all about? To open the way for us to be able to rest in Him about every problem in our lives? To enjoy His Peace--all the time? No matter what comes along?
I challenge you to give this a try this year, friends. Give Christmas, along with all of its challenges, busyness and changed planes, to God. I know that when you do, your Christmas will be the most blessed ever.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.