I remember playing Monopoly as a kid and how much I treasured that “Get Out of Jail Free” card when I was lucky enough to draw it from the pile.
Because it meant that even if I landed in jail, I didn’t have to stay there.
As I walk this Valley of the Shadow of Death, I often wish there were cards like that for all sorts of seasons, places and situations. I can’t help them coming around, but I would love to be able to skip right over and move to the next thing.
Christmas feels like that this year.
Christmas is hard for all kinds of hearts for all kind of reasons. And unlike most other holidays that are only a DAY, the Christmas season drags on for weeks which makes it even harder.
Now, you know I’ve posted here about why I still put up a Christmas tree-because the lights remind me there is a limit to the darkness.
But, that said, I want to offer a “Get Out of Christmas Free” card to other hurting hearts who just can’t manage even a lighted tree this time of year.
Shake off the guilt. Wash off the worry. Step free of others’ expectations.
There is no biblical imperative to celebrate the birth of Christ. None.
And there is certainly no biblical imperative to dress up the celebration with all the cultural trappings we’ve added over centuries.
Furthermore, if you get right down to it, there is strong evidence that Jesus wasn’t born anywhere near December 25th.
So if your heart cannot bear the thought of one more holly, jolly song, one more hap-hap-happy get together, one more frenzied rush to the store for a forgotten present or pantry item-just choose to sit this one out.
It is possible to go through the month of December without caving in to consumerism or being guilted into celebrating when your heart’s not in it.
Close the blinds. Let the telephone go to voicemail. Fast from social media and turn off the TV.
The days will pass with or without your permission and January promises a fresh start.
It’s OK. I promise.