How To Find Christmas Joy When Everything Feels Heavy
Y’all, I’m so excited—Christmastime is here! Texas is finally chilly enough to drape ourselves in cozy sweaters and sip peppermint mochas out of controversial red cups. The streets are twinkly with Christmas lights and stores are humming with Christmas music. Don’t you just love it?!
Last year at this time I wrote about how my prayer for this busy season is to pursue celebration over obligation. This year my goal is the same — to focus on being present rather than obsessing over to-do’s and perfect outfits for Christmas parties.
Celebrating the gift of our Savior should be joyful, not stressful!
Last year in an effort to choose purpose and ban pressure, David and I made the decision to go “treeless.” (You can read the full story here.)
But this year, we stepped it up a bit. (Like 2 whole feet. Literally.) Finding ourselves with a free Sunday afternoon, we took advantage of the Target Christmas sale and came home with the cutest mini tree you’ve ever seen!
Eager to get in the Christmas spirit, we ripped the box open the moment we got home from Target. After about 30 whole seconds of assembly and branch fluffing, we began to adorn our tree with the ornaments we’ve collected over the years—some hand-panted on porcelain, others made from thick, sparkly glass.
I bet you can guess what happened when tried to hang the heavy ornaments on our teensy little tree…it drooped. Our once cute, perky tree looked wilted and exhausted. Its little branches just couldn’t handle the weight.
I tell you this story because that is kind of how I am feeling this Christmas season—like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I’m wearied and droopy from trying to carry too much.
I think we can all agree that the world feels extra heavy these days. The nightly news is crammed with stories that break my heart, and somehow more bad news continues to come. It feels like the Earth is pulsing with hatred and bombings and tragedy.
In my personal life I have friends suffering, a family member in the hospital, and difficult decisions to make. I’d be willing to bet there are worries hanging heavily on your heart as well.
So it makes me wonder—how do we celebrate when everything feels so heavy? How can we be genuinely joyful and festive when our “branches” are full with weighty burdens?
Sometimes I trick myself into thinking the answer is to grow stronger branches—a thicker skin, a more efficient schedule, a bigger wallet to support important causes… In reality, the true answer is found in our roots.
Trees with deep roots don’t droop. In the same way, a Christian who digs deep into Jesus finds strength and joy. She is able to shine in the darkest of seasons.
Jeremiah 17:8 reminds us that, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord…she will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. She does not fear when heat comes; her leaves are always green. She has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (my emphasis added)
We are able to enter this year’s stormy Advent season with genuine thanksgiving, because the One Who Calms the Storms is our strength. He holds us up when are unable to hold ourselves.
Dear friend, I don’t know what exactly is weighing you down this holiday season. While this is a magical time of year, I’m all too aware that this season also provides many, many reasons to feel overwhelmed or lonely or deeply sad. It is the time of year when the sting of singleness or devastation of infertility or the absence of lost loved ones is the most palpable.
My prayer for both of us is this: That we would stop trying to stand tall under the weight of is all, and instead be willing to bow down and lay those weighty burdens at the feet of Jesus. After all, He was born in a manger so that we could have the kind of reconciled relationship with Him that allows us to whisper our worries directly in His ear.
What a gift. What a wonderful reason to celebrate.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-20
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