Sunday, December 13, 2009

12 Pearls of Christmas: God With Us

by Deb Kalmbach

I used to be the queen of over-commitment, and December brought out the worst in this malady. It was as if I were poised at an imaginary starting line, and when I flipped the calendar page, I was off and running--the December dash!

You could hardly see any white space on my daily planner it was so jammed with events. Kids' Christmas programs, church programs, and endless lists of things-to-do obscured my calendar and my vision to see what really mattered. Each day when we hung another ornament on our Advent tree, I felt my chest tighten, and my breathing get shallower. Only single-digit shopping days left...Panic mode was about to set in.

Of course I was singing in the Christmas choir. I love music, and the heavenly Christmas anthems we sang. The neighborhood cookie exchange was an annual tradition. Forget about the old standards, chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies. Let's talk about jam-filled tea cookies, chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls, or iced sugar cookies with colored sprinkles. My kitchen looked like a Martha Stewart test kitchen gone awry.

My head spins just thinking about it. I usually felt so frustrated and exhausted by Christmas Day, I barely enjoyed the celebration. I repeated this drill for many Christmas seasons, before I finally decided to step back and think about why I was trying to accomplish the impossible. I learned to take a deep breath and accept the fact that I can't do it all-and I'm much better off if I don't try.

That's probably why I'm writing this. The tendency to revert to this frenzied pace by mid-December is still a challenge. I need to be reminded of the quiet simplicity of this season, so I can hear the age-old message once again.

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14

Immanuel! Our God is with us. If we can stop long enough to listen-we will hear the invitation that beckons us to come, to wait, to get ready for our coming King.

No doubt, December will be as busy as ever with gifts to purchase, trees to decorate and carols to sing. But this Advent season, I pray that in the midst of everything contending for our time and attention, our hearts will be moved and our senses sharpened to rejoice in God's greatest gift.


Deb Kalmbach is the co-author of Because I Said Forever: Embracing Hope in a Not-So-Perfect Marriage and the author of a book for children, Corey's Dad Drinks Too Much. Deb and her husband, Randy, make their home in a tiny town in Eastern Washington. Visit Deb at her website or blog.


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7 comments and creative thoughts:

Abi said...

Good reflection thoughts thanks for sharing them at the busy time of the year.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot]com

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Sheila Deeth said...

I'm working on the over-committed thing, each year a little better than the last. And it's great that my Mum's here now to share Christmas and the Christmas spirit with us.

Patti Lacy said...

Enjoyed reading Margaret's post at another site...and this one, too.


TeamOSM said...

I'm so glad that online shopping has simplified my Christmastime! It's easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Thank you for the reminder of the true meaning of Christmas!!

CherryBlossomMJ said...

I think being on such tight finances left over from unemployment and a new baby gives a better perspective on keeping track of where our minds should be during this season. Sure I'm stressed a bit about if things will be enough when they should be. But at the same time gifts are one less thing to worry about. I'm so glad my friends and family understand. And that AppleBlossom is too little to care yet! Hopefully as she grows she'll focus on the reason for the season and not the hussel and bussel behind it.

Jaime said...

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