There are two times in the year that I am the most stressed: the second week of December and the first week of May. These are my most stressful weeks because of finals. It is every college student’s nightmare. The week in December is even more stressful than the week in May, because in May I get out of school for almost three whole months. That is three months without papers to write, deadlines creeping up, and tests to study for. In December, however, I get to enjoy that luxury for three weeks. That’s it. Three weeks. Only three weeks to lounge around, do my leisure reading, bug Pastor Carrie at the Church, and of course, work!
December is also more stressful because Christmas is coming up and I desire to bless everyone that I know with a thoughtful gift. However, when I shopped over Thanksgiving break, I realized I am just not in the Christmas spirit this year. There is no joy, happiness, cheer, or wonder.
Growing up as a child, Christmas was one of my favorite times of year. Everyone was always just so loving and joyful. As a child you cannot stop yourself from wondering. You wonder: “is Santa really real?” or, if you were like me, you wondered what Santa/your parents were going to get you. Every year Gramma used to get my sister, cousin, and I each a giant gift bag that we called our “stockings.” She would load them with Yahoo! chocolate milk drinks, candies, and cups of applesauce. We also looked forward to the giant box of clothes she used to get each of us. And then, to top it all off, there was always the annual wrapping paper fight which ended up with crumbled up balls of wrapping paper landing in Gramma’s homemade Oreo pudding. That was when Christmas was truly the most joyful time of the year.
Then, when I was older, I gave my life over to Christ and began to learn the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Because to us “A Savior was born!” This spurred on my wonder and joy all the more. But it seems as though, since I have been in college, Christmas has become just another time of year. For me, it’s a time to just take a break and relax from the stress of being a college student who’s always trying to figure out her future.
I miss that. I miss being so joyful at this time of year. So, my realization that I want to share with you all is that even though the stresses of life seem to pile up around us during this time of year, even though finals are coming and I have to scurry to find everyone I love a Christmas present, the reason we celebrate Christmas still remains! We celebrate because Jesus came! Not only did He come, but He came to us! Think about that! The Savior of the WHOLE world, entered the world…because of us. We’re getting ready to celebrate the amazing birth of our eternal King. My realization is that I cannot let the stress of life come and steal my joy during the most beautiful time of year!
Church, have you ever felt like I have? Have you felt like you’ve lost your joy? Have you felt like the wonder of our coming Savior has vanished? I do. We need an awakening of His wonder in our lives. We need an encounter with the Lord that will restore the beauty of this time of year.
Matthew 11.28-30 states: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Church, we need to go to Jesus with all of this stress. We need to give him the burden that we are trying to carry and HE will give us rest. Isn’t this just a beautiful promise? We celebrate Christmas to recognize how worthy and righteous the birth of our Savior is, the one that takes our yoke upon Him.
Pastor Aaron talks about the wonder of the Shepherds in his sermon series, “Our Coming Savior: The Shepherds”. Pastor talks about how the Shepherds weren’t exactly the most exciting and loved people around, but Jesus chose to reveal highly sensitive information with them instead of kings in palaces. Decide to set aside time during the busyness of the season and listen to the PAG podcast http://painesvilleag.com/our-coming-saviour as Pastor teaches us about the Shepherds and how hearing of Jesus awakened their wonder.
Church, we aren’t called to a life of stressful living. We are called to be joyous and full of wonder for our Risen Savior! This Christmas, join me in asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the wonder and joy of Jesus Christ to us again; ask for our wonder to be awakened!
College Student, Writer, Blogger