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"THE 12 PAINS OF CHRISTMAS" - why is it such a pain?

“THE 12 PAINS OF CHRISTMAS” – why is it such a pain?

Guest blogger - Sara Thorsby 

This morning I was jamming out to Christmas music.  (I’m bingeing on it because I only listen to it for about a month out of the year, and it’s just fun.)  So I’m car-dancing to the seasonal tunes and then the song ‘The 12 Pains of Christmas’ comes on.  I thought about the ‘pains’ they were talking about:

-whiny kids
-
facing the in-laws
-5 months of bills (due to living outside of your means)
-Christmas cards
-Lights
-Wrapping presents
-Finding a Christmas tree

Let’s be real, people: most of the misery we experience at Christmas is self-inflicted!!! Since when are we required to hang lights, send cards, spend time in awkward family situations, or even put up a tree or buy gifts?

You’re probably comparing me to a few famous people who share my opinion – namely The Grinch, Scrooge, or Charlie Brown.  I agree – by the end of each story, The Grinch had a big heart, Scrooge became a giver, and Charlie Brown… well, Charlie Brown stayed the same. But I love how he stuck to his guns when he said that Christmas is commercialized, and he loved that sorry-looking little tree even though everyone thought he was crazy for doing it – because although it was small, it was real – not some fake, commercialized big deal.

We keep trying to remind each other about the “real reason for Christmas.” Reminder: the ‘real reason’ had nothing to do with lights, décor, shopping yourself into ridiculous debt, acting ‘fake’ to avoid family drama, finding a tree bigger than Clark Griswald’s, or even giving gifts. <insert shocked gasp here>

I keep hearing that the ‘heart of Christmas is love/giving/remembering Christ’s birth…’  I agree with the last one. I think it should be a big, crazy birthday party for Jesus.  I think we need to remember what a sacrifice it was for Him to come down from glory and be one of us, and be humbled – and then more than humbled, he was disgraced, mocked, tortured, and killed so that we could be restored in relationship with the Creator.  We need to remember that, and we need to be grateful and joyful for the amazing gift He is to us.

Christmas is a cool season that we celebrate, but if Christ is in your heart and the fruit of that is coming out in your life, shouldn’t you act like it’s Christmas all year round?  Think of things that a lot of people only do at Christmas: give gifts, host events, cook/bake for others, give to charities… if you do that year round, there is no need to stress about it at Christmas because it’s a lifestyle, not a season.  If you love your family & spend time with them year round… if you’re humble enough to admit & apologize when you’re wrong and gracious enough to forgive others when they’re wrong… Christmas with the family wouldn’t be so awkward, now would it?

Christ had & has no intentions of stressing you out for His birthday.  Yeah, angels announced his birth, but that was to some people doing manual labor on the night shift – if you weren’t looking for it or paying attention, you’d have never known.  There was no fancy parade or public service announcement.  There’s no law saying you HAVE to put up a tree, HAVE to put up lights, or even HAVE to give gifts!  If it’s not in your heart to do it, don’t do it.  Be real, and don’t stress yourself out.  A sincere heart is more appreciated than the façade we often feel it’s necessary to put up along with the decorations…. The only problem is, when the Christmas décor comes down, the façade of peace, happiness, and joy often doesn’t.  And that’s what we’re left with: a fake happiness, peace, & joy – a front that we’re constantly putting up that says, “I’m fulfilled, I’ve got it together” when in reality, our attitudes suck and we constantly fill our lives with stuff we feel like we ‘have to do’ instead of living our destiny and being fulfilled in walking out God’s calling for us.  (I’m preaching to myself here, too!)

For Christmas, I want peace in my life, peace in my family, peace in our country and in our world.  (And I’m not even trying to be Miss America here!)  Peace starts with trusting God.  Let’s stop being so crazed with commercialism and really remember the heart of Christmas.  Let’s put Him first and not quit on December 26th.  Let’s trust God to help us trim the excess stuff and drama out of our lives so we can focus on Him more.  Let’s celebrate Christmas year-round through a lifestyle of giving, service, & worship.  Now… do I still sound like the Grinch? J

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