Last week, the kids and I snuggled up on the couch to watch the Frozen Christmas special on TV. I know Y’all had your DVR’s ready for that one.
The basic plot centered around Anna and Elsa trying to figure out their family Christmas tradition. Everyone else in the Arendelle seemed to have their very own but since Elsa spent years locked away, they didn’t have any they could remember.
Olaf, the snowman, sets off to collect traditions from the people in the town so he can bring Elsa and Anna lots of options from which they could pick their new tradition.
Of course, you know how this goes. Olaf collects a sleigh-full of traditions only for them to catch on fire and end up at the bottom of the mountain. He barely escapes hungry wolves looking to eat the only remaining tradition even fire couldn’t kill. Fruitcake. He’s disappointed and sad and feeling like maybe he shouldn’t even go home because what’s the point. They are still tradition-less.
Skillet and Saffron both said, “Awweeee…”
But not me.
I asked them, “Y’all, did anyone ask Olaf to find them a tradition?”
They thought about it for a minute and then said, “Oh. No. Huh.”
“Anna and Elsa aren’t disappointed in Olaf because they never asked him to find them a tradition.”
We totally do that, don’t we?
Do something or create something or serve somewhere not a single person asked us to do. Then we just about kill ourselves in the process and if we fail (when we fail), we are disappointed and sad.
That Pinterest tablescape? No one’s even aware you pinned it.
The new recipe from the latest diet fad? The usual fattening once-a-year meal was already perfect.
The beautifully coordinated Christmas morning pajamas? The new, scratchy, fancy Christmas dress for the choir performance? The fabulous farmhouse wrapped gifts with handmade mason jar gift tags? The perfect craft for the kids’ classroom holiday party?
The only people expecting any of that is us and the only people we are trying to impress is us. And when it doesn’t turn out exactly like our incredibly crazy-high expectations, we feel like failures.
All because we’re doing when no one asked us to do.
Let’s go back to our verse, the guide we use to help us build our lives rooted in Christ and overflowing with thankfulness.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” ~Romans 12:1 (The Message)
But let’s go further. Let’s Message The Message.
Here’s what I want you to do this season, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary Christmas holiday – your shopping, baking, going-to-parties, and wrapping-presents life – and place it before God as an offering.
Pretty sure we’re not doing that.
What we have been doing is going from virtual door to virtual door, checking everyone else’s Christmas season, seeing what they’ve got going on.
And with each stop, we are filling up our sleigh with a whole bunch of stuff on top of expectations stacked on anxiety. All that is serving only to weigh us down.
Let’s push that sleigh over the side of the mountain.
And for sure make sure the fruitcake goes down this time.
Let’s give our messaged Message verse a try instead. Let’s have an everyday, ordinary, walking-around Christmas season where our focus on what we bring to Jesus as an offering and not what we do for Him.
Because Jesus already did all the work.
Let’s stop doing things He hasn’t asked us to do. Stop collecting anxiety and guilt and shame along the way. And start abiding in Peace instead.
The Prince of Peace.
Lord, this season we offer you our traditions and obligations and comparisons. We’re pushing them over the mountain and simply sitting for a while with You instead. Listening for Your holy whisper and expecting You to fill us with Your Peace.
To help you have the most peaceful holiday possible, several writers have linked arms in a series called The Peaceful Holidays Series. We are all writing on similar topics each week. This week’s topic is Simplify for the Holidays. If you are totally stress-free this season, Great! But if you’re like me, you might need some more ideas. Check out these amazing writers and their contributions!
Janelle Esker from The Peaceful Haven talks in her post about eliminating everything, even good things, for God-honoring things.
Jessica Herberger of Celebrate Joy Every Day
Betsy Pendergrass of Gathering Around
Each one of these women offers such encouragement this season! I hope you enjoy every piece and I am praying a Peaceful Holiday season for Y’all.