Lines are bursting through double doors. Music is blasting louder than your grandmother’s hearing aid will allow. Energy is high and wound up tight with a pretty bow of procrastination.
Christmastime is here.
You have all types in this Christmas mix. Many stories and many traditions, yet at this time of the year, we find ourselves mysteriously united in one common purpose. It’s a time we all look forward to—whether in dread or in sheer anticipation—we all look.
You see, we have this Christmas picture painted in our minds. I like to call it, “the greatest and most spectacularly beautiful Christmas season anyone anywhere has ever experienced” picture.
It’s a lovely image of Christmas with its bright lights, snowdrifts, and carolers out and about. It’s a picture where you’ve given all the gifts and avoided all family conflict. And you’ve done this after changing the world earlier that day.
And then. Christmas Day arrives. And then. Christmas Day leaves. And the calendar reads December 26th. And the world feels a general sense of “what now?”
It’s easy to find yourself living a 365-day lifestyle, similar to this very one. To plan and prepare and spend all your time and energy looking forward to these bright shiny and glorious moments in your life. We find ourselves living with mindsets that function only on highs and crashes to bits of bankrupt pieces on the “26th” of that moment.
The trouble comes when we fill ourselves full of temporary moments in life and forget what exactly we’re trying to fill. When we focus so hard on “fulfilling our calling” that we forget to listen to His voice as He attempts to guide our steps. When we become so wrapped up in finding the “perfect soul mate” that we forget to care for our own soul. When our climb up the social ladder takes us to the top, only to find ourselves completely alone and ready to topple.
The allure of these moments fuels our drive, yet never prepares us for the trip home—for the 26th. The problem comes when our focus is on the road we’re on and not the journey God is taking us on. It’s when the tree wasn’t as bright as you had envisioned and the snow didn’t fall. When the day didn’t quite sparkle and the loved one didn’t call. These are the moments that are quick to dampen our joy.
Our lives are more than highs and lows, ups and downs. Yet so often we find ourselves placing our high hopes and trust in a day, a moment, or a time when everything will be perfect.
However, with misplaced trust comes misplaced joy that will easily fail you. True joy cannot be found in a wedding date, a graduation, a promotion, a successful weight loss program, or even the perfect Christmas Day. Great disappointment is sure to follow if you’re looking for a perfect moment to find your fulfillment.
So is there hope? Yes, there is. When we finally remove the trust, the expectations, the hopes and wants we have set in our own plans, and we place them all in the Lord’s hands, then the power of the 26th will fade into the background.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (II Corinthians 4:18 NIV).
Olivia Dummer is a student in Blue Springs, Missouri where Steve Smith is her pastor. She writes and keeps an inspirational blog hoping to encourage others and share what she’s learned about God.