In the past I've been a bit (okay... a LOT) Cruemudgeony at Christmas time. I bought into the whole hype about the busy-ness of the season and just let it get to me. I didn't like the 'extra stuff' that I felt was expected of me during this particular time of the year and I just let it make me grumpy.
Something has changed in me over the last few years. I no longer resent the 'extra stuff' at Christmas time. In fact I've really come to enjoy this time of year and the activities that come along with it. Here's why....
For all of the fuss about whether the appropriate greeting is Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Merry Xmas, Winter Festival or you name it, the bottom line is that most of the world takes this time of the year to celebrate. Whether they acknowledge it or not, everyone is really celebrating the birth of Jesus. It's true that some people have tried to eliminate Jesus from Christmas, or at least try to pretend in some politcally correct way that we all do this for some other reason, but that's a bit like trying to eliminate oxygen from air. He is THE REASON for the Season.
I'm re-thinking 'busy-ness'. Let's stop and think about this for a minute. We might have one (maybe two) office Christmas parties, you might have a kids school Christmas event and then there's that whole shopping thing. Some people put extra time into baking and preparing for guests. So yeah... there can be more activity than usual. The other side of the coin is that most people get 3 stat holidays over 8 days so that's a pretty good trade off from a time perspective.
Here's what I've come to see. This time of year is a celebration and an incredible opportunity to connect with neighbours, friends, family and co-workers. If we approach this from a missional perspective, it's also an incredible time to build meaningful relationships and sow seeds of God's love and hope into the lives of people who have yet to discover His love and grace in their lives.
So... I've concluded that 'busy-ness' at this time of year is simply a state of mind. It's true that there's more that goes on at this time of year than others, but as people who have discovered the truth and wonder of God coming to be among us and more importantly IN US, this is our time, our day and our hour. What we need is a mind shift that moves us out of dreading or complaining about this time to a place where we embrace the wonder and excitement of the season and find God's strength and power in the midst of it.