This morning I slept in. I never do that. I like to get up and enjoy a cup of coffee before the house wakes up. I like to have moments of peace where I can reflect, dream and pray. This did not happen today. I was behind and my routine was completely out of sorts. I’m starting to feel the stress of Christmas (even while doing the Advent Project!) and I’m starting to wonder if I can get it all done. It seems to drag me down and I much prefer to be happy and stress free.
If I’m honest, stress itself isn’t usually the problem. I can handle most of what’s thrown at me. It’s the negatives that come with it that cause problems. When I’m feeling good about myself I try to think positive thoughts. I try to see myself as the world sees me. When stress creeps in I’ve noticed it goes the opposite way. I become critical of what I cannot do. I dwell on the bad things and I harp on my worst traits. This is not good for anyone. I long to be the perfect parent and when I fail I beat myself up. I long to have the perfect cookies and when a pan doesn’t turn out quite right I get upset and forget that it’s only a cookie.
The need for Christmas perfection can ruin a holiday. As followers of God we need to let go of our search for perfection and realize that Christmas is about more. Today I stumbled across a passage from Isaiah that I thought was particularly appropriate for those of us who might be having a few stressful moments. It reminds us that it’s not about what has happened, it’s about what’s happening now. While we may feel we aren’t good enough, and we fret over what people will think, we need to remember that God is with us and that’s is pretty amazing.
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”
Isaiah 43: 18-19 (The Message).
God encourages us to let go of the past and move forward with confidence. God doesn’t care what we’ve done, God cares about what we are doing right now! God wants us to be alert to see what’s happening and we can’t be alert unless we let go of the worry, forget about the stress and embrace what this season truly is, an opportunity to engage God, right here and now with our friends and family.
Tomorrow when I wake up and look at my to-do list I will remember this verse. I will remind myself that it doesn’t matter if I don’t get the baking done. It doesn’t matter if my house isn’t perfect in my eyes as it’s clean. It doesn’t matter if I’m stressed or overwhelmed, God is with me, bursting out, about to do something brand new and I don’t want to be so overwhelmed with Christmas preparations that I miss the arrival of the baby.
Tomorrow I will be alert. I will be watching for the signs. The baby is coming and I don’t want to miss him.