I’m just not in the mood.
I don’t have a good reason to be in a funk. I haven’t dealt with hard stories of grieving, hurt or loss or broken relationships like others I know, but I’m still struggling to be in the mood for Christmas. I usually really enjoy Christmas. The specialness of remembering the greatest miracle, making others feel seen and loved, the music, the beauty of decorations, and the thrill of hope. I don’t want celebrating Christmas to turn into a “have-to” but remain a “love-to.”
I keep trying. But I haven’t been able to take a deep breath lately due to an extremely busy season. I feel like I need a good long exhale and about a month on the couch with my feet up before I can even think about Christmas.
I’m tired and I’m not feeling very festive. Maybe you can relate?
I’m trying to be better about noticing when I feel tired, stuck, or emotional about something and ask God what’s going on in my heart and what He wants to reveal to me. Preparing for Christmas is definitely one of those areas that I’ve been asking Him for revelation and help.
I wonder if the feelings I have are part of the point of the manger? Weary. Heavy laden. Tired. Burdened. Distracted. Busy. Not really feeling it. All reasons why Jesus came for God’s people. Jesus — Immanuel, God with us in every feeling and circumstance — is the ultimate reason we have to celebrate God’s goodness.
As I’ve processed my lack of Christmas cheer, God reminded me how He called His people to celebrate Him many times throughout Scripture. Celebrating was a choice, not a feeling, and not always convenient. But God’s people obeyed His specific calls to celebrate because they understood that celebrations, or feasts as they are called in the Bible, were not just about eating certain foods or gathering in particular ways — every feast was meant to point to Jesus.
Guidelines for feasts and festivals are especially prevalent in the Old Testament. For most of my faith walk, I wanted to ignore the Old Testament, thinking it didn’t really apply to my life. But there is such a rich and beautiful story at work when we look at Scripture as a whole and remember that God is the same from the first page of Scripture to the last to how He is present in our lives today.
With just a little research, I’ve learned that the feasts God asked His people to celebrate annually were clues pointing to His Son. These times of celebration and feasting are connected to our being able to celebrate our salvation, the resurrected Savior, and His imminent return. To praise, to sing, to dance, to eat, and to remember. A rhythm of feasts reminded God’s people to make space for Him. To recognize His love and His good plan. It took preparation, planning, and energy to celebrate in the ways God had instructed, but it was worth it because they were inviting God to be with them.
Each feast God created connects us to a way we can celebrate Jesus’ birthday and the hope of His return. Here are a few ideas based on the holy feasts that are helping me get in the Christmas spirit:
Sabbath: I’ve planned ways to simplify my life so I don’t continue to over extend myself. As I accept God’s call to rest, I make space to sit in the quiet so I can hear the Lord and see things from His perspective during this miraculous season.
Passover: I’ve done my next right thing and continued on with putting up our Christmas tree. It’s a lot of work but I feel enveloped in God’s love when I sit in the dark with the glow of the tiny lights and remember how Jesus hung on a tree for me — the cross of Christ reminiscent of the original cross on the doors of those first saved in the first Passover.
Unleavened Bread: I’ve baked in the kitchen with my daughter and been reminded of how Jesus is the “Bread of Life”.
First Fruits: I’m praying through what I can do for someone else this month rather than continuing to think about myself. Sometimes the lack of Christmas spirit is because I forget how to give from what God has given me.
Pentecost: I will set aside time each morning to pour God’s Word into my dry Spirit. To re-read the story of Christmas and prepare my heart for Jesus, asking Him to make a way in my heart and renew me with fresh fire.
Feast of Trumpets: Trumpets were used to call the workers to stop and come to the temple so I will crank up the Christmas tunes and worship in my living room. Let’s make a joyful noice not only because God deserves our praises, but also because we need to sing and dance and celebrate who God is and what He’s doing in us.
Whether you are familiar with biblical feasts or not, we can all ask God to speak to our hearts — through His Word and through the Holy Spirit within us — and guide us in making this season one of meaningful celebration.
It doesn’t matter if presents are perfectly wrapped or if cookies get baked, but it does matter that we devote time to celebrating who God is and the gift of His Son to this weary world. Indeed, that is a reason to rejoice!
How do you choose to celebrate if you’re not feeling very Christmas-y?