I wonder if I were to take a poll, if December would be listed as the “busiest” month of the year. Most celebrate Thanksgiving and move right into the Advent season, anticipating Christmas. There are trees to be put up, decorations to be put out, preparations for family gatherings, Christmas programs, Christmas parties, gifts to be purchased and the list goes on…
It can seem overwhelming.
It can feel like we don’t have enough time in the day (or weeks) to get it all done. The hustle and bustle of “The Season” is in full swing.
However, for some, December may be the “calmest” month of the year. The days can be filled with laughter while making cookies and gingerbread houses with grandchildren, filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, or even just sitting with family and reminiscing of the years gone past.
It can seem quite peaceful.
It can seem quite holy, if we allow it to be.
As a mother of boys (one with a December birthday), the month can sneak up on me and I can choose to be frazzled some years and calm the others. I hate to admit it, but my mind tends to go back and forth between the two.
All can be calm or all can be chaotic.
Let’s think about Mary for a moment and what this “preparation time” meant to her and Joseph. They surely weren’t thinking of Christmas trees and gifts to purchase and goodies to be shared. They were preparing for the most important event of all: Jesus’ birth.
If we think WE get overwhelmed during this season, imagine the night Mary was going to give birth. No room at the inn. Nowhere to lay Mary down for her to labor and give birth to the King of Kings.
I’m not sure about you, but when I was in labor, I wanted them to meet me at the door of the hospital with the epidural! I know friends who had planned and unplanned home births and most of them went well. Almost all had a midwife or an ambulance crew to assist. But not Mary. This was their first child and how were they to know what to do? Talk about being overwhelmed!
You know what? Maybe they were overwhelmed. But maybe, just maybe…they weren’t. Maybe they were given peace and strength to get through the labor no matter where or how it happened.
Maybe they had faith that this God who placed Jesus in Mary’s womb would take care of them.
Just maybe they remembered something we often dismiss…
This December is a bit different for my family. My mother passed away on November 20th. Her funeral was November 28th. She was a mere seventy-one years old. If the Lord chooses, I will have many years to live without my mom. Every single family gathering will have an empty chair; every opportunity for a memory to be made with her grandchildren is gone; every time I think I can call her…I can’t.
I am overwhelmed. Not with Christmas trees or cookies or gifts or parties, but with grief. Loss. Heartache. Loneliness. I’m overwhelmed with more feelings than I can list right now.
But then I remember what Jesus says in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Can I truly have peace amidst the grief, heartache and loss? The reality that’s slowly setting in that I, as the only daughter, no longer have my mom to call/take care of/visit/hug/kiss? Peace with that?
I think of Jesus’ words in 2 Corinthians 4 when He talks about “jars of clay”. He tells us: “7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
My heart says this those words are pretty spot on right about now…
Further in the chapter, He says: “16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
This month, as I watch the craziness of the season, I will most likely still be overwhelmed. However, I have the words Jesus spoke to comfort me.
He can remind me that I may be overwhelmed, hard pressed on every side, persecuted, struck down, but not destroyed.
He can remind me that I WILL have trouble in this world, but I really can have peace knowing He overcame it ALL.
I can fix my eyes on Him as I sense Him telling me, “Rochelle, precious daughter of Mine, do not lose heart. I am inwardly renewing you day by day. This feeling of grief and loneliness and heartache? I promise you, these are light and momentary. They are helping me achieve an eternal glory for you that will outweigh them all. What you see today with your physical eyes can’t compare to what I am preparing for you to see with your spiritual eyes.
Wait on me, Rochelle. I am working on you, molding you, creating you into who I want you to be. One to bring me eternal glory. Place your trust in Me…your grief in Me…your entire life in Me. You may feel overwhelmed, but you will NOT be overcome.”
Oh gracious Jesus…thank You. Thank You for overcoming death and the grave, so we don’t have to. Thank you for giving us the best gift we could ever receive…eternal life with You.