Written By Beth McGhee
Christmas-time… Peace… Joy… Love… Family… NOT!
If your Christmas time is anything like mine, it can be stressful, pressure-packed, emotional, and tiring! Then again, isn’t it what we make it? As women, we want everything to be perfect – the house with its decorations, the meal with its Southern Living Magazine cover recipes, the gifts wrapped with Hallmark-worthy bows, the entire “Norman Rockwell” experience. Have we missed the point? Well, then it must all be about family traditions, right? What happens when that has been taken away too?
In 2012, we spent our last Christmas in Greensboro (driving distance from our children) and made a move to Oklahoma City that changed our “traditional” Christmas gatherings. We have traveled through both busy and deserted airports, stayed in different hotels without decorations, visited our son’s home, and gone to different cities celebrating with children individually. A far cry from our Christmas-day meal planned and prepared by me! As I have faced each year with many tears and emotional stress because “It’s not what I am accustomed to!,” I have to acknowledge how shallow that really is. I have come to realize when you throw a pity party for yourself, you and Satan are the only ones to attend. And he wasn’t even invited!
I had always been in control of the “celebration,” so to speak– my home, my preparations, and my time-table. We all know Christmas is not all about traditions and trappings, but we become entangled with what we feel it should look like. Christmas may not be like it has been in years past, and it may never be. We cannot go back to life as we knew it. What about the mother and father who have lost a child? A child who has lost a parent? The person who has lost a spouse by death or divorce? The wreck that changed everything forever? The diagnosis that makes every day a struggle? The financial struggle that creates daily stress? The single individual who feels so alone? The list is endless, but the message is everlasting. God sent His son to the earth, so we may have eternal life– The Christmas Story!
I am so thankful God is long-suffering and touched with the feelings of our infirmities. He created our emotions and understands them better than we do ourselves. When we feel so overwhelmed and at a loss for words, we can still feel His comfort and love saturate our emotions as we sit in silence before Him. My adjustments to Christmas traditions from the past seem so small in comparison when I look at others who face so much more than me.
I recall a song the children, at a private Christian school where I worked, would sing every Christmas, “Happy Birthday Jesus, I’m so glad it’s Christmas, all the tinsel and lights and the presents are nice, but it’s all about You, Happy Birthday Jesus, I’m so glad it’s Christmas, all the carols and bells make the holiday swell, but it’s all about You.” May we never forget it’s all about Jesus and His coming to earth to be the supreme sacrifice for us. God gave the gift of His Son, so we may have eternal life in heaven with Him.
Circumstances change, and life situations change, but the Love of our Heavenly Father is unchanging. As we go through situations in life, try to keep Him at the center of it all and know He is in control. Tears will come and go as our feelings and emotions do, but His faithfulness is everlasting and firm. Christmas is all about Him. It is His birthday!
Google the song “Happy Birthday Jesus” and sit with Him in silence who the celebration is really all about! Merry Christmas.
Beth McGhee is the wife of Bishop Tommy McGhee. She has a daughter, Jennifer, a son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Mandy, and one granddaughter, Audrey. She is currently employed by Chicos.
*Happy Birthday Jesus- Author Unknown