I have a love-hate relationship with tradition.
Tradition, for me, at Christmastime, encompasses a lot of things- Christmas music, setting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, the WOW! Greatest Hits Christmas edition. Christmastime means the Holiday drinks come back to Starbucks, and the Salvation Army bell ringers in front of grocery stores, and Christmas lights shining everywhere after it gets dark outside. Everything about these traditions, and the many more that I and my community have, points to joy.
But I can be a bit of a tradition perfectionist. And when one thing doesn’t go exactly the way I think it should, I have the tendency to blow it out of proportion, like Lucy toward Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, and call the whole season ruined.
At church the other weekend, my pastor directed my attention to something especially profound, something like this: if you are missing out on the joy of the season, you are focusing on the wrong things. This really hit home for me, because I definitely have missed out on the “reason for the season” in the past. Even though our traditions are ideally centered around a celebration of Jesus’ birth, we tend to get lost in the distractions themselves rather than the amazing, simple, revolutionary, beautiful Christmas story.
Rather than sinking into deep dissatisfaction when your Christmas isn’t going exactly to plan, or when you don’t seem to be finding joy in the traditions you so loved as a child, take a moment to reconnect with your Savior. Read scripture daily, and get lost in this beautiful love story He has given us and invited us into. Only there, at His feet, will you find the peace you are looking for.
Advent is a season of remembering our hopelessness without Him. It's not about presents, or music, or festive trees with tinsel- it's about love. So if you are still searching for that long-lost Christmas joy of your childhood, maybe you are looking in the wrong place. Look up.
Peace, Love and Blessings to you in this Advent season!