Don’t sweat the small stuff. In the light of what’s going on in the world, that’s an expression that can be very meaningful in many a household, especially this time of year – a time that is supposed to be filled with joy and peace, but for some strange reason can sometimes be very stressful.
I love Christmas in Scotland, in the cold weather. There’s something just not right about an artificial Christmas tree with fake snow on it in the scorching December heat in South Africa. Christmas here FEELS like Christmas. And because this excites me so much, I usually can’t wait to get the 4 of us in our Christmas jumpers and send a photo to the family abroad, you know, of our ‘cute, happy family’ at Christmas time. The problem is just that my eldest has now decided that he’s not wearing a Christmas jumper anymore. He’s 8. That’s not cool. “What?!”, I went. “Of course you’re wearing your jumper! We live in Scotland now, that’s what people do.” “No.” “Yes.” “No.” Heated argument.
Until I took a step backwards and realised what I was doing. I was forcing him to do something that is so insignificant in the bigger scale of things, that I couldn’t believe it was important to me in the first place.
Because we are an amazingly lucky family – to be able to live here in this safe and lovely country, among loving and caring people. My boys are healthy and happy. And cute. Even without Christmas jumpers on!
When Jesus was born there was nothing cute about the “season”. “Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). No Christmas jumper for baby Jesus. Cloths – because there was nothing else.
Sometimes we can get so worked up about the small things, that we lose perspective of what is really important. If we could see past all the Christmas decorations into the rest of the world – how many families are there that are torn apart because of war, where children have nothing to wear and no gifts waiting for them under the tree, where Christmas will just be a day like any other? How many people here among us hide heartache behind a smile and a gift this time of year?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t worry if your turkey burns or if you can’t find the perfect gift… We’ve got so much to be thankful for. God loves us. So much that he sent his son to die for us.
Let’s focus on the real meaning of Christmas this year, and the peace that only God can bring, the peace we so desperately need in the world today.
May God bless you all this Christmas.