It’s a one-word mantra I have to use around this time of year. Well, it starts in September, I suppose, when we start to focus toward Charge Conference, and through Advent and year-end reports and into Lent and past Easter the pressure doesn’t really let up much. “This time of year” might, for me, be a bit more expansive than the next few weeks.
I hope it’s not for you.
But if it is:
Thanksgiving, for all the stress of preparing a massive feast for guests and dealing with difficult relatives who seem to want to press every button you wish you didn’t have, is a time of fellowship and joy. Advent is a time of anticipation and hope. Neither should be a season we exit with our fingernails nibbled to the nub.
Alas, they are.
So in all your preparation, in all your hosting, in all your highway-driving, no matter how close that semi is to your bumper and what choice words you might have in mind for that creep who was never taught that the left lane is for passing:
And if that doesn’t seem to work, step aside, maybe even outside, and remember: God is with you. That’s the great promise of this season we’re moving toward, the promise of Immanuel: God is with us. Step aside, away from the stress, and try the penultimate stanza of St. Patrick’s Breastplate:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
There is joy in every moment you encounter in this season. There is reason to give thanks. Don’t let it fall out of focus.
All is well.