Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The awe and wonder of it all

Last year's Christmas was a stressful time for me. I truly suffered from all the negative aspects of the season: the huge number of fliers coming to the door irked me; the full parking lots at the mall overwhelmed me; the stores with the Christmas music and the pushing of goods bothered me. The materialism of it all - the having to live up to all the traditions, when I wasn't in the mood - the pressures of going to parties and having to entertain family at home were more than I could bear. I saw it as a chaotic time, one I wished I could escape.

But - blessing of all blessings - this year is different. I feel at peace. I don't feel pressured. I'm enjoying the season. And this started happening even as I was struggling with depression over the past few weeks. That's truly amazing! Thank God!

So I went to church this Sunday - the first Sunday of the Advent season - eager for Pastor Don's sermon. He didn't let me down. He talked about how Advent should be a time of quiet waiting - a time to look forward to Jesus' coming.

Unfortunately Christmas has become a time of chaos for many of us, when it should be a time of awe and wonder. Just think of it: the child Jesus who was born was God, come to earth to walk amongst us. He came to show us who God is and what he's like. He showed us God's great love and illustrated his amazing grace.

Christmas is very much a time of fantasy and nostalgia, a time when we try to recreate feelings we had in the past. But recreating those feelings can be difficult in the lives we're living today. We often end up with pain when we can't do it. But if we could remember to focus on Jesus, the whole reason we are celebrating, perhaps we could escape the pain and lighten the expectations we put on ourselves. Perhaps we could escape all the noisy stuff and the chaos.

The time leading up to Christmas should be a time for stillness, a time for peaceful reflection. Think about what a mystery God's coming into the world was! Think of the awe and wonder of it all!


Dream Writer said...

That is great, Marja. What is so weird is that I feel the same way this year and we both felt the same way last year...

I don't feel pressure either even with school and all...go figure.

Glad things are going good for you :)

bipolar_girl said...

Happy holidays, Marja! I miss you so much! Thinking of you on this very special time of the year. Take care!

isabella mori said...

thanks, marja. you've given me the first real christmas feeling of the season. having grown up in a culture where the emphasis on christmas was mostly spiritual, my reaction to christmas in north america is often to just ignore it. but advent ... what a magical, mysterious time ... yes, a time of waiting. thank you.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

What a nice post! Yes, there have been times when I've been so overwhelmed by the commercialism of all our religious holidays that I wished that pastors, priests, and rabbis would remind people about what really matters.

Personally, I try to stay away from the stores and concentrate on the more spiritual aspects of life.

Merelyme said...

Mmmm...yes! a time of stillness and peace. i like that. i am feeling well this christmas...so far removed from how i felt even a couple of months ago when i had called a suicide hotline. was it really me? sorry...just rambling. anyways...i am so glad to hear you are doing well!