The miniature gingerbread house’s wall collapsed. With icing-coated fingers I retrieved it and sighed as I propped it back up. Why had I chosen a village instead of the single house I usually constructed? I’d created a successful gingerbread village several years before, but as another house fell, an idea stuck in my mind like the walls of the gingerbread house should have.
With a single, dramatic sweep, I dumped the houses in the trashcan and emptied the bowls of gumdrops and other colorful candies on top. I surveyed the carnage and decided Ebenezer Scrooge was a kindred spirit.I giggled. I’d just helped to decrease the surplus population…
Of gingerbread houses, of course.
And I’d broken free of the myth that traditions alone will bring joy to a Christmas season.
Holiday traditions are wonderful. But last year, my heart was weary from stressful situations I’d faced in the previous months. I didn’t realize the extent until I tried to do my Christmas rituals and didn’t have the strength. Everything from gingerbread houses to cookie baking to party planning seemed shallow and stupid, and I was putting pressure on myself to do unnecessary things simply because I’d always done them.
We all experience Christmas seasons like that. Recently, I reviewed my journal from last year, and here are the Bible verses that encouraged me in my season of humbug.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:5 – May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
- Isaiah 40:29-31 – He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Remembering these words helped me focus on the Lord for strength, hope, and perseverance instead of relying on traditions. If you have a weary heart this Christmas, I pray these verses will encourage you, give you hope, and strengthen you.