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As the saying in Texas goes, "if you don't like the weather, wait fifteen minutes."  We've had it all this week.  A beautiful 80 degree Spring day.  Followed by torrential rain.  Followed by a crisp and clear Fall night.  And we're expecting ice or sleet in the next day or so.  Yes, sometimes the weather in Texas changes by the minute.  Sometimes by the day.  But one thing is certain about the Texas climate:  you can never, ever really predict it.

 

Same goes for life, I suppose.  I think a holiday time brings this out in folks.  And especially at Christmas.  I'm sure we've all experienced it.  Sometimes we're "on."  We're excited about Christmas.  We've got that holiday spirit.  And sometimes, it sneaks up on us, we're feeling rather bah-humbugish, and would just assume that the holiday pass on by that year and leave us out of it.

 

I suppose we can look to our circumstances to see how they might play a role in our attitude about Christmas.  I confess to you that I have let circumstances determine my level of holiday hurrah.  Two years ago, I was struggling to begin this ministry without a clue as to how to do it; money was tight; and I had just suffered significant burns to my hand, causing me serious pain and concern.  I think I had joined the contingent of folks that year who claimed, "I'm not really celebrating Christmas this year.  I'm  not even going to put up a tree."  Fast forward one year to last Christmas: the ministry had begun taking a shape (although, it is ever-changing); I was surrounded by family; and a new relationship was blooming.  An exciting time, and I was excited about Christmas celebrations. 

 

Finicky?  Maybe.  Human?  Definitely.

 

Yes, yes.  I know all about Christmas.  About the meaning of the celebration.  About the joy we should feel as Christians celebrating the gift of the Christ child.  I know that Christmas is not really about gift-giving, tree-trimming, doting loved ones, family frenzy, and over-indulgence in egg nog and glazed ham.  But such traditions bring comfort and reassurance, and when any part of them is missing, it is easy to feel flat about the holiday-- to simply be spiritually "off."  And, I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling "off," I tend to feel a bit guilty.  As a Christian, shouldn't I always be excited about Christmas, at least if I've got the right perspective about the holiday?

 

How to break the holiday funk?  Take comfort in knowing you are not any less of a good person because you're feeling unenthused about Christmas.  There are numerous examples in the Bible about the spiritually bereft who bemoan their lot in life, only to make an about face.  It is human nature.  Like the Texas weather, our lots in life cannot be predicted.  They may change day by day, week by week, or even year by year.  But they will change.  Our circumstances will change and we'll encounter a spiritual blue sky kind of day.

 

How else to break the holiday funk?  Take comfort in knowing that God loves you so very much that he sent Christ to live in this world as a human.  Just like you and me.  To experience times of being "on" and "off;" to feel the pressure of circumstances; to experience pain and disappointment and loneliness; to model for us living a life in perspective, but fully recognizing we won't always get it right.  Take comfort in knowing that, because of this Christ child, we have been given the tremendous gift of changing what would have otherwise been our lot in life.  Surely, that is reason enough to celebrate Christmas.  Blessed Christmas to you.

 

Grace and peace to you as you journey.

Yours in Christ,  

~~Jennifer

12/16/05

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