Choosing REAL during the Holidays
by Bekah Jane Pogue
The holidays are upon us. Can you feel it in the air, in the stores, on the Internet?
Presents to buy and cookies to bake and teachers to make cards for and RSVPs to respond to. There are family gatherings and parties and decorating. It’s enough to make one go batty.
During these frantic weeks, I find myself going into control mode. I want the tree to twinkle beautifully and the house to feel festive. I want to find just the right gift for this person and create epic experiences for our sons—ones they look back on and tell their grandkids about. The entire hype is idealized in my mind. You see, I’ve got Christmas planned out—the perfect holiday scene.
But life doesn’t go as planned. Someone gets sick or an expectation goes unshared. Ornaments break and budgets don’t stretch as far as I hope. How will I respond? Will I try to force my plans or exchange them for Jesus’ peace? Will I release my control for a perfectly planned party and instead take the perspective as the guest, as one who is choosing to respond to the unexpected detours and conversations and people who are the backdrop of today.
Our oldest son, Tanner, reminds me of a tender perspective when I asked him, “What’s your favorite thing we do as a family?” I expected grandiose. Lights. Big presents. Epic occasions.
You know what he shared?
“I love it when we have dinner together as a family.”
Cue deep breath in.
From the mouth of babes.
Yes, son. Yes, when we have dinner together as a family. So simple. So consistent and true.
His words pull me back to this season and encourage me to fight through the commercialism and respond to my Savior’s invitations for relationship. With Him. With others. Isn’t that what our days are about?
Not the ideal gifts or perfectly plated cookies. Yes, adorn the tree and deck the halls and throw fun parties, but let’s choose to see how God is real in the hustle of holidays.
Where is He asking you to pause and push aside the to-do list and play with your child on the floor?
Where is He bringing a neighbor to find a listening ear in you?
How is He using a co-worker or an unexpected circumstance to draw you to depend on Him, when our temptation is to kick into “I’ve got this” mode?
When we choose Real—the very lives we are given, the people we share homes with, the relationships and messy failures and growths—when we peer through the tinsel long enough to see people, that’s where Christ lives.
In our spouse. In our kids. In our families and friends and neighbors and people we bump into at Target.
Long after the lights are taken down and the tree is put out at the curb is God’s daily invitation: “Will you sit and have dinner with Me?”
Will you meet Me in the mundane? Will you choose to share your heart with Me when you feel frantic and anxious and focused more on the exterior? Will you still your mind and soul to simply be with Me? To enjoy this moment right here?
Perhaps the most beautiful gifts we can give this Christmas is awareness of a real Savior displayed in His people, in our ordinary lives, doing the best we can. Where choosing Real celebrates the messier, the merrier.
An everyday Jane, Bekah Jane Pogue is passionate about encouraging and speaking to women about finding their identity and freedom in Jesus, to live intentionally and to celebrate their created selves. She communicates her heart with a relaxed, storytelling style, as if you were sitting on her couch and catching up as old friends. Pogue’s debut book, Choosing REAL: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned, released December 1 (Christmas gifts, anyone?) When she’s not playing with her hubby, Bryan, and their two energetic sons, you’ll find her at the beach, reading, baking, rearranging furniture or flea-marketing. Connect with her at bekahpogue.com.
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