Posted by: Mike Willoughby | November 30, 2010

Ready, Set, Shop?

As I write this article, there are 25 shopping days until Christmas and I am volunteering at the Boy Scout Christmas tree lot selling and loading Christmas trees on the top of luxury SUVs.  Most tree-shoppers are happy and full of holiday joy as they browse the lot searching for the perfect speciman for their special corner of the house.  However, a few folks already have that “how can it possibly be Christmas time – it feels like I just threw last year’s tree out a couple of weeks ago” look in their eyes.  I recognize that look of anxiety and the feeling of stepping onto a running treadmill that often accompanies the look. 

Did I mention only 25 shopping days until Christmas?  Yikes!  Where are my credit cards?

For those of you that live for this time of the year with the frenzy of holiday parties, school programs, church activities, shopping sprees, volunteering, caroling, meal planning and pantry stocking – I hope you are able to relish the experience and I encourage you to pause and thank God for the blessing of celebration. 

I find myself in the treadmill running, hopelessly conflicted schedule-bound, procrastination-prone, doomed to last minute shopping, grateful to my wife for trying to get me to the right place at the right time, collapsed exhausted on the couch on Christmas Day category.  And yet even with the stress and insane December schedule, I too look forward to this time of the year especially the time to spend with family and cherished friends.

However, I think it is important that we each recognize that not everyone looks forward to this time of year.  Some of you are experiencing physical, emotional or spiritual pain that is brought on or accentuated by the often unrealistic expectations of our American materialistic spin on Christmas.  I know some of you have been hit hard by the 2009-2010 recession and the thought of trying to carve some discretionary spending money out of an already tight budget or going further into debt just adds to the stress you are already under.  I know some of you have sustained the loss of one or more loved ones this year or this time of year and the holiday season just brings melancholy and grief.  I know some of you are currently undergoing trials that make the celebration of the season seem trivial and distant. 

For those of you in this category, let me encourage you that it’s OK to feel the way you do.  You do not have to put on a show for the rest of us.  We would rather help you bear your burdens than be the source of additional burden to you.  I am praying for you this season that you will find comfort and escape feelings of guilt that may come from not being in the expected holiday mood.  I am praying for many of you by name this month because I know of your specific situations.

In addition to my prayers, let me offer you this Christmas gift.  This month as the world stops to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, let us not forget why he came.  He did not come to create stress, fear and anxiety or to encourage materialism and self-centeredness.  He came to bring peace.  Listen to the angelic announcement that came with his birth recorded in Luke 2:8-14.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Jesus makes this promise of peace personal in John 14:27 with this commitment to all his disciples:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

My prayer for each of you this holiday season is that you will experience the promise of peace delivered personally by the Spirit of God.  It is your gift to claim if you will simply trust in Him.

Glory to God in the highest and peace to each of you!

Until next week,

Meet me at the intersection!

Previous Intersections Articles

I Thank God for you Here am I… You have the power!

Responses

  1. thank you for prayers Thanksgiving was hard for all of us and so will Christmas we are all still grieving so much for Phil just takes time I guess to start over with new memories you are so much in our prayers as well with the struggles you have with being a father, an elder and leader we love and appreciate you all of my family included in this post

  2. thank for that its as if you have read my mind. There are always stressfull things that happen at this time of the year and I am not lacking in those but I know that God hears my prayers and will ease our anxiety if we will only trust in Him and leave it to Him. Thank you for your words of wisdom Mike, you and Kristal are gems in the crown. Lotsa luv Jean.

  3. I would like to refer you to the same scripture you quoted. Also check out the verses that tell of when Elisabeth was six mos. that the Holy Spirit placed GOD’s SEED in Mary’s womb. Look at what month that was and count the days for carrying a baby. Shepards would NOT have their sheep out in the fields in Mid winter of Dec. but in the spring. Now you can figure when Jesus was born and know that it was in May-June. xmas of Dec.25th is winter soltice celebration time and placed into our calendar by the Catholics . Even their bylaws say so. To celebrate xmas properly would be to have Santa time. Winter Soltice is also celebrated with lights, trees and ornaments. You figure it out. As for me I consider it, halloween, easter ALL are cult worship. Christians should consider GOD’s appointed FEAST DAYS as in Lev. HE has 7 of them. We are suppose to be different than the world. WHY AREN’T we????


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