Adoration Over Frustration (How to Prevent Post-Holiday Blues)
Despite my very best intentions, it seems like on the most sacred days—like Christmas and Easter—I spend the least amount of time actually worshiping.
Here’s how it usually goes: On Christmas morning I tote my journal and Bible downstairs with the best intentions of spending quality time in prayer and thanksgiving. Almost immediately, I get too excited about breakfast (sausage pinwheels at our house), present opening, and playing games with family to sneak away by myself for a little quiet time. It’s hard to justify alone time on such a special day. By noon, my neglected Bible ends up hidden under a pile of wrapping paper next to my cold, half-empty third cup of coffee.
Here’s what I’ve realized: When I buzz through Christmas like that—without an intentional, grateful pause for thanksgiving—I end the day (or the season) feeling a little empty and unsatisfied. The post-Christmas blues set in as soon as the festivities slow down. It’s frustrating.
This year, I want to re-infuse worship and meaning in my Christmas celebration. I want to wake up on December 26th with a renewed hope and sustaining joy from an Advent season spent soaking up our Savior.
This is why my third and final Christmastime motto for 2014 is this: Adoration Over Frustration
My 23rd birthday was the best-worst birthday ever.
It was my first birthday since David and I started dating and I was expectant because, you know, birthdays are the perfect opportunity to find out how romantic and thoughtful your guy can be. On the morning of my birthday, I skipped to my front door, eager to send an Instagram pic of the gorgeous basket of peonies waiting for me on my doorstep. But they weren’t there. And the Sprinkles cupcakes I was positive would be delivered to me at work. Well, they didn’t show up either.
In fact, we really didn’t really even talk about my birthday until late that afternoon when he took me to get my nails done. (Which was very sweet of him, but after the flowers and the cupcakes and the Tiffany box didn’t show up, let’s just say I was slightly frustrated.)
But after my mani/pedi we went to dinner…
I walked in to see all of my very best friends waiting for me! David had orchestrated a master plan to bring my friends in town for an entire weekend of festivities. It was the best weekend ever! Turns out he is actually really romantic and thoughtful after all.
So this is what I’ve realized about Christmas: If Jesus were a birthday princess like me, I think He would be disappointed about the way we celebrate His big day.
(For the record: Jesus is the furthest thing from a birthday princess. Because, Jesus “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)
More than anyone else, He deserves our endless devotion, yet He came humbly as a baby born in an old barn to die for our sake. Much more than our fulfillment of religious obligations on His birthday, He desires a true relationship with each of us.)
Some of us celebrate His birthday by giving Him the same gift each year—an obligatory Christmas Eve service in our best red dress, probably followed by several glasses of champagne, an ungodly amount of carbs and chocolate, and lots and lots of presents. Some of us don’t even give Him that. We get to distract by everything else and we use His birthday as our second birthday celebration of the year. We hardly even shoot up a “thanks, dude” prayer in the midst of our festivities. I pretty sure I’m guilty of both. Except I like red wine, not champagne.
But this year… I want to commemorate the birth of our Savior with a meaningful birthday celebration.
Because if David thinks I’m worthy of months of planning a weekend long 23rd birthday party, my God—the one created the Universe, sacrificed His own Son, forgave me of my sins, and now calls me daughter—y’all, He is worthy of the most epic birthday celebration ever.
Just like the wise men did, I want to delight in Jesus with a few gifts but primarily worship and celebration. And you know, I believe celebration is best done together.
The birth of Christ deserves more than my lonely clapping hands. He deserves our applause.
Sara Hagerty, author of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, calls this type of holy applause adoration. It’s the act of “inhaling His Word and exhaling praise,” and I think it’s a perfectly epic way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.
It’s pausing in grateful reverence, reading His Story and soak up the richness that drenched in every page.
And as a side effect, adoration is a great way to wrap up the holidays feeling more whole and grateful than you started them.
Will you join me in practicing adoration with your loved ones this Christmas season? In the middle of the holiday shopping, cookie exchanges, and Christmas Eve feasts will you make time to stop and applaud?
Let’s celebrate His birthday well this year.
Oh, come let us adore Him.
photo credits: Dollar Photo Club