From Weakness to Strength

We’re supposed to be happy during the holiday! We should be having fun during Christmas!

The holiday season is filled with supposed to be’s and should be’s. You are supposed to be happy during Christmas. You should be having a great time during the holidays. You shouldn’t feel sad or depressed during this season. You should have the Christmas spirit (whatever that means)! You’re supposed to be enjoying yourself and acting like someone in a Hallmark movie! You should have the perfect present. You should have the perfect decorations. You should have the perfect tree. You shouldn’t be a Scrooge. 

That is a lot of supposed to be’s and should be’s to try and meet up to. A lot of expectations. We try. We try so hard do it. We plaster a plastic elf smile on our faces. We go through the motions and the rituals of the season. We pretend like nothing is bothering us and like everything is as it should be in the world this Christmas. We try so very hard to fake it till we make it, but it only ends up making us feel like we are dead and empty inside. We want to, or we want to want to, be like the people on the Christmas cards and we try so very hard, but…

We’re just not strong enough. 

That’s okay. If there is anything I really, really want you to take from this meditation it is that it’s okay to not be okay this holiday season. All of the supposed to be’s and should be’s can be okay in their proper time and we might someday find ourselves to something sort of like them. But those aspects of the holiday season are not necessary for Christmas to be Christmas and in fact can often get in the way of us really seeing Christmas for what it really is. 

Let me give you an example. Have you ever been frustrated that the stuff you wrap a present with can often be as expensive as the present itself? I mean, if you go all out with a special box, the shiny paper, ribbons, bows, and a card, you can spend a lot on the stuff that is meant to be ripped apart and thrown away! Sometimes, if you’ve got someone who’s really, really good at wrapping (not me), the present looks so nice you don’t want to open it. You just let it sit there and admire how sparkly it is. But if you get over the sparkly and you finally rip open the package, the present inside is so much better and wonderful and bright that you completely forget about the sparkly wrapping you were so entranced by earlier. 

Christmas is the same way. All of these supposed to be’s are like the wrapping on the Christmas present. When they work, they can be great and fun and sparkly. But if we get so caught up in the wrappings and trappings of Christmas, we can miss completely the present of Christmas. Because, in the end, the wrapping is meant to draw the eye to the present, not be the present itself. The wrapping is meant to be ripped up and thrown away to get to what matters most. The present.  

The present of Christmas is Jesus. Jesus came to a poor family, in a humble stable, among animals and guys in the field just trying to make it by. Jesus did not expect on his visitation to be greeted with shiny or glittery things, with fake smiles or empty bank accounts. Jesus came into the weakness of our reality and our lives to be our strength. 

Jesus does not expect fake smiles and glittery things and strong attitudes from you this Christmas either. Jesus came into our weakness so he could be our strength. 

This Christmas, you don’t have to be strong. That’s not what Christmas is all about anyways and it is certainly not what the present of Christmas, Jesus our Savior, expects from you. No, you can relax and rest in the presence of the present of Christmas and let him be strong for you. 

Because that is what Christmas is all about. 

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Published by philipmcclelland.org

​I am a recovering burned out workaholic​ who forgot I couldn't change the world. From the ashes of that not only have I found a peace from God that I never knew but a focus on what matters, God, family and loving my neighbor as God has loved me. My burning out experiences really drive my writing and how much I want to share all of the good God has worked through the hurt I've experienced. Currently I serve a great little parish in Northern Ohio with my wonderful family and our furry farm of five dogs, four cats and the oddball handful of fish. You can find me at www.philipmcclelland.org.

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