People say let go and let God. At Christmastime in the U.S., this is harder than it looks. I feel the pressure of consumerism and rush during the holiday season. The pressure to buy stuff, to make stuff, to find the best deals, to rush around making memories, to book every weekend solid with holiday festivities.
My time is gulped down by a greedy machine, and the moments of being present are easily cheapened and shortened, trading heartfelt for glossy.
People say God helps the one who helps himself. This is also harder to understand than it looks. There is a subtle (and not so subtle) campaign for the pursuit of things that don’t matter, namely, stuff. The message is that ambition to have the best is noble, that things relay love, that the more money you spend the more valid your feelings, to the point of stress and unhealthy lifestyles and lack of margin or balance. We help ourselves to more, at the brink of maxed out energy, credit cards, scheduled events, and strained relationships. And expect God to help us have even more. It’s everywhere: schools and work and churches. Most of the people I know have more stuff and space and fun than most people in the world and they still don’t think they have enough.
People say we need more. Of this and that. More money. More time. More lights. More camera. More action. We need more tolerance. More education. More debate. More awareness. This year, after traveling to Mexico to work in the landfills where people live, taking a trip to Asia to minister to rescued victims of human trafficking, and watching the news, if I was any more aware of the despicable acts being done to people in the world and in my own country, I might have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, so overwhelmed would I be. Honestly, sometimes I do. More tolerance doesn’t seem to be working. More education is causing overload and crazy debt in an entire generation that can’t find jobs. More debate is making us hate each other.
More seems to be the name of the game. The More campaign. We are always being told to be something else, someone else. Better, slower, faster, quieter, nicer, more open-minded, etc. That we need more words to fight more battles. More laws. Just more.
People say a lot of things.
God has a different campaign. It’s called Come.
All of us are tired. Our days are packed. It is easy to forget what we need to remember…
He says come to Me. Just come. And I will give you rest.
This, when you think about it, is rather profound. It’s massive. A whole cure in that statement. But it isn’t said with glitter and good marketing, so perhaps it gets overlooked.
Perhaps More drowns out Come more than we realize. More is definitely louder. Come is quiet.
So that’s what I’m doing this Christmas. I’m investing in Come. I’ve got a budget for gifts. I refuse to feel stressed about giving gifts to people. Ridiculous. I’m not going to summon fake energy and drink way too much caffeine and eat too much sugar to rush around and do a million unnecessary things and completely miss out on the quiet depth of what Jesus did and does in our hearts. My tree looks like a box of ornaments sneezed and fell in random places. I have a motley assortment of decorations. It’s okay. Maybe less is more for me this year.
Christmas is Jesus. For me. Gifts are cool. Decorating is fun. I love trees and carols. Santa doesn’t bother me. Plain red cups are fine. Happy Holidays and all that jazz…
But I can’t trade any of these things for the need I have for real Christmas. That is Jesus.
I need real Christmas-that-is-Jesus like oxygen.
Which is just coming to Him. Again. For rest. For new hope and vision.
This helps with peace. It removes the expectations of a society that doesn’t know when to quit. The anxiety that materialism causes. The rush and pressure and fear. It adds a quality that trumps quantity.
I’m offering you the subtleties of the Come campaign too, if you’ve been feeling a little worn by More.
What is God asking for this Christmas?
I bet we all know it isn’t a lot of dollars. Or a packed out schedule. A perfectly decorated house. Fake cheer. Or for you to scurry around beyond your capacity. Very rarely does He care about numbers.
His economy has always been hearts. His currency has always been love. The bottom line? Your willingness to come, and keep coming.
Perhaps this is the true letting go and letting God. The actual helping of ourselves so we can be helped.
(Maybe the less that is more, is actually way more than we ever dreamed.)
Maybe Jesus isn’t just the reason for the season, but the reason for the reason…
What does God want? The One who all this jingle-belling started with?
Just come. Breathe. This is a gentle transaction, given first to humble shepherds. Unfolding in the obscure stink of a perfectly normal stable. There was no pressure for ambience there. No distractions of a crowded schedule. There was no Starbucks. It was quiet and patient and awkward and real. It changed the world with its breathtaking vulnerability and message. It offered rest for the striving of our souls. And transformation born out of human weakness.
For this, I’m in. For Him.
What about you?
Just come? Let Him give you what He has?
That is Christmas.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11:28-30