Every year Christmas rolls around, we often get into a groove of traveling, shopping, wrapping, and baking. I found myself in this groove once again after school let out for winter break. In the 5 days leading up to Christmas my schedule was filled shopping and cooking. ( Side note: I spend Christmas in Michigan, so traveling and visiting family is also added into my already busy schedule.)
I didn't realize how crazy busy I'd been, until I had time to be still at Christmas Eve mass. After receiving the Eucharist I reflected on the days leading up to Christmas. I realized that I had neglected prayer and my Advent meditations during my time up North.... But the whole time I was busy shopping, and cooking, and wrapping presents, Jesus was waiting for me to come and spend some time with Him. It's comforting to know that no mater where life takes us, Jesus is always with us.
Meditation: How often do you get caught up in daily life, and neglect your relationship with God? Are you making time for prayer? Are your thoughts directed towards Christ? Do you offer each day up to God?
Later that night, my family and I were opening Christmas presents before bed--No worries, it was past midnight so technically it was early Christmas morning.
As I opened my gifts I was in a weird mood, because I didn't get EXACTLY what I wanted. I wasn't disappointed, because my gifts weren't bad at all, in fact I got some pretty great gifts (Thanks Mom & Dad ilysm). I asked myself, why my heart was so restless.... I was in my favorite state, surrounded by family, with gifts other kids could only dream of receiving....
I laid down that night and thought about my discomfort and my thoughts from mass, and finally made sense of my restless heart.
Although watches, sweaters, iPods, and gift cards are great to have, Heaven is WAY better. All too often, we get caught up trying to make Christmas absolutely perfect, and forget about the reason for the season. We try to get the best presents for our family, cook the most elegant meals, and decorate our houses better than our neighbors-but sometimes things don't go the way we want them. Pies burn, lights short circuit, your little brother hates the toy car you bought him. We are often left wondering, where the joy is in Christmas is if things don't go according to plan?
Well let me tell ya, eternal joy is not found in presents or pie, but in Jesus Christ. For example.....
Look at the Blessed Virgin Mary, 9 months pregnant, in a foreign city, with no where to have her baby boy. She was probably stressed out, wondering how on earth she was going to care for her baby, the Son of God. But she didn't lose faith. She knew that the birth of her son wouldn't be the way she'd hoped for, but it would all be okay because God was watching over her. And what'll you know, everything did turn out grand! Christ our Savior was born, and Mary's fears were crushed by God's awesome plan! What a great example to Christians everywhere. How often do we get frustrated in the face of our fears? I find myself looking to Mary a lot when I'm anxious, because I think that her faith in the face of fear is what we should all strive for.
"But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart."
Sometimes things are hectic and we neglect to give Christ the attention He deserves. Sometimes things don't go the way we planned. But God only gives us what we need and can handle. We can learn from the Gospel, that God can turn a seemingly awful situation, into an awesome situation. Christmas isn't about the presents we receive or the food we devour, it's about being thankful for the fact that Christ came down from Heaven to free His brothers and sisters from their sins, so that they might be happy with Him in the next life. Maybe you don't get the gold necklace you wanted, maybe you left the turkey in the oven too long, maybe things didn't go according to plan. Whatever the situation is, praise God. Because the gift of Heaven is the greatest gift of all.
Rejoice! Our Savior was born, and saved us from Sin! Be mindful of the Reason for the Season, and have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! Praying for you all!!