I confess I am not very good at slowing down. I also confess I am not very good at celebrating. Throughout my life, I have been acknowledged and rewarded for my achievements. Striving and pushing, fixing and accomplishing – my reward being recognition and attention. When I am honest with myself, all these works are attempting to push back against my shadow’s core beliefs that “I am not good enough” and “I am not lovable.” These are my internal struggles. Do they sound familiar to you?
Now, to complicate matters, add in the external pressures during the holiday season – entertaining and shopping, parties and gifts – we are pressured to buy more and spend more. Consumer businesses spend billions of dollars on advertising, trying to get us to buy their products. Advertising agencies know they can increase sales if we receive the message that “we are not enough without their product.” With advertising on so many mediums, resistance is futile.
Or is it? During this Christmas season, we as Christians are called to celebrate the birth of our savior. And what was God’s message to us through this savior? Jesus was the living God who embodied love and grace. Throughout the Bible, we are told of God’s love for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Without us accomplishing anything, God loves us. He tells us we are enough and we are lovable just because we are his children. His deepest desire is to have a relationship with us – for us to come to know Him and deepen our love for Him. He asks us to slow down – “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) – and celebrate the best gift we have ever been given. I invite you to be intentional about slowing down to celebrate by scheduling time each day until Christmas to be still. Find a quiet place, light a candle and enjoy time with God! – Bill Ernstrom, Director of Operations