I realized a few days ago that nearly all of my Christmas preparations were done.
As of Dec. 12, I had mailed Christmas cards, baked Christmas cookies (and dropped off several goodie boxes for friends), hung outside lights on my house, put up my Christmas tree, wrapped all of my Christmas presents and have EVEN watched several Christmas movies — “Squirrels are high in cholesterol.”
Now, if you’re reading this and your anxiety level is going up because of all the things on your to-do list, do not panic. Because this is not typically who I am on Dec. 12. Or Dec. 18. Or Dec. 23 … ? As a pastor, I’m usually busy during the pre-Christmas season known as Advent. I’m feverishly trying to check bulletins and count candles for our Christmas Eve services. I’m struggling to come up with profound words for folks to hear in my sermons. I’m eating sandwiches for dinner and buying far more coffee to-go, simply because I feel so stressed and overwhelmed with what has to be accomplished.
There have been a lot of things that have been disrupted for us in 2020. Our relationships look different. Our work or daily commitments look different, and our patterns of behavior look different. More often than not, I catch myself being resentful of the things that have been taken away from me, the loss of 2020, rather than seeing what good this last year has brought for me and for you.
But as I survey my living room and realize that all of my Christmas “work” is already done for this season, I’m able to be at peace in a way that normally I am not. I’m able to sit and actually enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning, while looking out the window and witnessing the snow falling and the glistening of my Christmas tree lights. I’m able to enjoy the quiet peace of these days leading up to “the big day,” rather than running this anxious race to get everything done.
Dear friends, I don’t know what your to-do lists look like these days, but I hope and pray that you can find some quiet peace now, today, rather than waiting for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
I hope that whatever tasks still remain, you’re able to settle into the quiet calm of Christmas 2020. I hope that despite the many heartaches this year has brought us, that you can find a bit of joy in this new space to “be” at peace, rather than to “do” all day, every day. Don’t wait for Dec. 25 to sleep in heavenly peace, but find some time to sit in heavenly peace or maybe walk in heavenly peace. Maybe sip some coffee by the window with soft Christmas lights in heavenly peace.
With love, Pastor Meredith
The Rev. Meredith Harber serves as the pastor to Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna (128 N. Soldotna Ave.). Current worship is via Facebook Live at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays.