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The Weary World Rejoices: When Christmas Isn’t What You Expected

Episode #73- Learning to hold the Good and the Hard and still find joy! Your Host-Caroline Rogers 

The Weary World Rejoices:When Christmas isn't what you Expected

Careening towards Christmas

The Weary World Rejoices:When Christmas isn’t what you Expected. Why do the years seem to speed up the older I get?  We go careening into the holidays saying things like, “I can’t believe it’s already October” or “Thanksgiving” or “December.”

Depending on your personality and your current life season the holidays could bring about a joy and familiarity that gives you hope for reprieve or it can usher in feelings of anxiety and overwhelm…. Maybe a little bit of both. 

First I want to tell you, “YOU AREN’T ALONE.” I know I say that a lot here on the podcast, but it’s true. I figure I need to be reminded of it often and maybe you do to.  

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an excuse to celebrate

For me, I always look forward to the holidays. There is a certain expectation and hope that even though life has been crazy busy up to this point, we will get time to celebrate. Or rather an excuse to celebrate?

Do we need an excuse to celebrate??  As those words come out of my mouth I feel like we kinda do. Many are the pressures to be the best Christian, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, house keeper, employee the list goes on. It’s no wonder we are weary.

Of course we do have celebrations throughout the year, but for us as Americans I think from October -December we give ourselves license to pump the brakes on our striving.

At least that’s what we tell ourselves. The next thing we know, the flights get canceled, the packages don’t arrive, the turkey is burned and you find yourself strong arming your fried nerves and disappointments into, “celebration submission”.

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Commanded to celebrate?

I think about the Israelites and how God commanded them to celebrate, often! I’m understanding more and more why God had to command them (us) to celebrate. God knew He created us with the need to worship Him. Taking the time to celebrate, to rest, to acknowledge God’s goodness and provision. We also needed a time to surrender and lament our willful and un-willful sins.

As modern day Christ followers we fall under the new covenant. Meaning, we are no longer required to follow the old law as a means of Atonement. Sadly our freedom to choose God and His ways allows us to prioritize so many things throughout the year. This often causes burnout, instead of reviving our spirits.  

Holding space for the good and the hard

At this moment, my thoughts go out to friends who will walk into this season amidst unexpected changes. Some with two less parents than they had last year, friends who are or know someone very close to them battling diseases, job losses, adjusting to you or someone you love moving to a new city or state. If that’s you, you aren’t alone. I’m praying for you, and holding space for your grief as you navigate these very difficult things. Especially amidst people who are only in celebration mode. 

On the celebration side, I’ve got my brother and sister celebrating their first Christmas as a married couple, (You can listen to my interview with her it was two weeks ago). I’ve got a niece celebrating her first Christmas. We are all rejoicing as a family that another Niece of ours is officially adopted into our family! (you can listen to her adoption story on Ep39) These are all joyous things to celebrate! Yet we now all live in different states which makes our holiday season look different than it used too. and that part is a little sad.

I’m notorious for being a Pollyanna. Sometimes, I think I focus on the good, so I don’t get too bummed. Last season I put too much weight on the celebration of the season to sustain my adjusting heart. This year I’m trying to step into it a little different. I don’t think it was because we were too busy, although I thought that at first.  but I think I was looking to Christmas to distract me. 

Of course I celebrated Jesus, and took time to notice Him and the reason for the season. However, I know by how I felt I wasn’t exactly celebrating while embracing the new and hard things. 

The question is how do we head into this season with hope and joy, embracing and thanking God the good, and holding space for the grief? 

How then shall we celebrate?

I think about how when Jesus came things had been very bleak for the nation of Israel… they hadn’t heard God talk in hundreds of years and they were under heavy persecution and taxation from the government 

When Mary (Luke 1:26-38 ) accepted her role as Mother of Jesus, we sort of view it as this crowing celebration moment but there were so many unknowns. How did she respond? in worship! Mary’s song, (Luke 1:46-56 ) is similar to Hannah’s prayer after giving up her son as a gift to the Lord. (1 Samuel 2:1-11)  

Looking back at these heroes of our faith it’s cool to know that they participated in the commanded festivals and celebrations despite their present circumstance. In fact Hannah was at a festival when she prayed her broken heart prayer of trust to God.   I think we can learn so much from them.

I’m praying I don’t put extra weight on this season. Disappointing or fooling myself into ignoring the hard and sad things. I want to walk in the Israelites footsteps, and celebrate God’s most precious gift to us. Enjoying the good things and praising Him while mourning the losses and the changes. This is what it is to hold both the good and the hard, not discounting either.  I don’t want a Christmas that is a distraction, but a Christmas that reminds me to Praise Him even when it isn’t what I expected. Join in as the weary world rejoices, especially when Christmas isn’t what you expected.

Quiet Time with God series

This episode is the closing of our 4 part series on “Quiet time with God.” It felt right to talk about it in light of advent and these holiday seasons that don’t always meet our expectations. 

Ep#70 -A Practical Guide: Spending Quality Time with God in Everyday Life (pt1)

Ep#71 Quiet Time with God: a Homeschool Momma’s Humble Perspective (pt 2)

Ep#72 Making time with God a Priority: a Gen Z Perspective (pt3)

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