Friday, 3 January 2014
It's a funny thing. As soon as the summer is over, the shops tentatively, and then confidently, begin to display Christmas cards, chocolates and wrapping paper. The countdown is longer than it has ever been before. The pressure to have 'the perfect Christmas' is immense and we all feel guilty when that person (you know who you are) posts on facebook that they have finished their Christmas shopping and wrapped it all up by October half term. How can someone be so sickeningly organised?!
The children are bombarded with advert after advert, telling them what they need to be happy. We begin to stockpile food, enough for a month but in reality it only needs to last a couple of days. The shops fill up with treasures that we seem to need.
And we are swept along in this tide of consumerism, expectation and pressure to perform.
And sometimes, in the waves of 'getting it right for everyone', we lose sight of the One who says there's no need to perform. He sees our hearts. He knows we can't create the perfect 'John Lewis' Christmas. In fact, we don't even need to.
When we lose sight of Him, panic and fear set in. The waves seem much bigger and more threatening. The impossible becomes impossible again. Nights become tortured by the 'what ifs' and the frantic whirlwind of anxiety takes over. The treasures become more important than the One who gives us so much more. We put our faith in the reality of circumstances instead of the truth, which sets us free.
So if, like me, you lost sight of the Prince of Peace in this busy time, train your eyes to look towards Him again. Christmas is over. Whether your turkey was perfect or whether you burnt the potatoes, it doesn't matter. If you were all vomiting on Christmas Day so you ate dry crackers, it doesn't matter. Whether our children had the latest trendy tablet or a small, modest present, it doesn't matter. Whether we are embracing the year ahead with excitement and anticipation or wondering how we are going to pay the mortgage let alone feed the children, we need to look to the Prince of Peace again. Christmas isn't our treasure. Those treasures are going to break, or sit, untouched and unplayed with. It's just 'stuff'. It will clutter our homes and our hearts. He is the One who matters. Let's keep our eyes on Him this year.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be." Matthew 6: 21