by Rhonda Rhea
I was readying for a marathon Christmas shopping session when I suddenly felt noticeably…list-less. Not tired or disinterested or anything like that.
Not listless. List-less.
As in, we were into December and I hadn’t made the Christmas list. Hadn’t checked it once, much less twice. What was I thinking?
That list is usually taking over my life by early November, sassing me and hounding me and pitilessly bossing me around. A pushy little monster, that list. Every time I’d sit down to create it, I would start feeling a little Frankensteinian. Why would I purposefully create that beast? If I didn’t make it, it couldn’t bully me, right?
While I’m not necessarily listless around this season, now that my five kids are grown, I do sometimes get a little sentimental. I still grin at some of the outrageous want-lists I got from my kids. Sentimental now. More like “Santa mental” then. What even were moon shoes? Just saying. Frankenstein’s monster would wear those.
Why is it so easy to get overwhelmed with the to-do lists and the Christmas lists and the monster lists of more monster lists in the season of giving? Shouldn’t I be feeling less Frankensteinian, more frankincense-ian?
I like thinking about the gifts given to Jesus, the gold reminding us of His kingship, frankincense of His role as priest, and myrrh foreshadowing His death. If we listed other elements of the spirit of Christmas giving, I think we would top it with not only the three gifts to the Son, but:
*The Father who gave the Son.
*The Son who gave His life.
*The Spirit who gives His constant presence.
Focusing on this triune “list” helps bring our other lists into perspective.
More people are depressed around the holidays than any other time of year. Many site the stresses of the to-do-list-busyness. For others, it might be financial challenges or missing a loved one. Some have unmet expectations of that perfect holiday.
If you’re battling some lingering listlessness, try adding a couple of things to your to-do list:
*Check the expectations. When we expect all our plans to come off just so and then they don’t, disappointment can become a monstrous joy-zapper. Not a single one of us can control every aspect of an event, and we can’t control even one aspect of a person.
*When we’re joy-depleted, focusing on our King, our Priest, our Sacrificial Savior can miraculously bring joy back to life. It’s alive! Jesus said in John 15:11, “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (CSB).
Guess what. No more listing needed. That last one? That’s it! Complete!
David said, “I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4, CSB). David asks the Lord for one thing. One. David, what kind of list is that?
Lord, let my lists all boil down to this one thing: worship in Your presence. Oh the joy there!
I want to pray that prayer all season. All year. All always.
I should report, too, that I did finally make those lists. Then I tamed them by sewing them into one list and shooting electricity into it. Still not sure why I gave it neck-bolts.