THE SOUL is shaped by words, images, & experiences.

THIS BLOG is about those things that have left their impression on me. I'd love for you to comment on what affects you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Finding Peace in the Midst of Holiday Madness

The following poem has been passed along, so I don't know who originally wrote it, but the words are worth thinking about this busy holiday season.


If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love
to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at
mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that
I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they
are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices
in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But giving the gift of love will endure.

I confess, I have been feeling a bit like Martha in the Bible these days--"cumbered about much serving", worrying about a lot of ultimately inconsequential things. It's hard not to stress out when there is so much to do in such a short time.

But I wised up, taking Jesus' advice. I'm not allowing my focus to stray from Him this hectic holiday season. Jesus Christ still brings peace, as the angel proclaimed at His birth over 2000 years ago. By His grace, I'm finding the many unique opportunities for service at Christmas to be a joy, not the burden they can become.

(Painting by Richard Anuszkiewicz)

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