Answering the Pressure of “Christmas Magic”

As the sun has been rising, I’ve been reading my bible, which I haven’t done for about two weeks. Oh, I’ve read christiany things, but not heard the sound of the tissue thin pages in my lap. Friends, this has been a hard year, so December is full of big emotions for my husband and I, alongside big cultural expectations of Christmas magic.

Who does the pressure to create Christmas magic fall on? Me, the mom.

…but I don’t always feel ‘magical’ at the right times.

Sometimes I do, but other times, like this morning, I feel pressed by the Christmas messes, and less than jolly from tossing, turning, list-making, scheduling, and trying to keep up on my homemaking when our routines are all different and energy wanes.

It’s with this heart that I turned to scripture, and you know what stands out to me today?

The gospel frees me to embrace the fact that I’m not good enough, and embrace that without condemnation.

I’m not good enough at materializing the joy and import of the incarnation for my children,

helping my husband enjoy Christmas,

decorating,

stirring my own heart to worship,

Christmas season homeschool,

patient forbearance,

doing the dishes,

laundry,

cleaning,

making my bed,

clearing my table,

or choosing devoted, humble joy.

I’m not good enough at any of that and more. I’m a sinner and my ‘not enoughness’ is not a small thing.

As the sun began to filter into my living room, I remembered, “God’s mercy is new every morning…” but conviction washed over me at once because in practice, I believe this means, “I have another chance to perform, to try harder today”.

No, dear heart, that’s not what it means. There will never be a day when I don’t need new mercies, when I don’t need the finished work of Jesus on the cross to be enough for me. It means he’s there to continually span the gap between me and ‘enough’, and it’s all already finished. Done. All the way. My ‘not good enough’ is already wholly answered with the finality of Christ seated at the right hand of God.

As I read through Matthew, I see people just like me, who had faith enough to believe Jesus would make them better, but not enough faith to believe he would outright save and set them free from earning–from needing to deserve and repay.

I forget. I forget that my job isn’t to need less mercy day by day. I forget that straining and struggling toward holiness is only enabled by, energised by, breath-taking grace. I forget that the command to be holy as my father is holy is an invitation to deny and discipline toward joy and relationship, toward intimacy with the triune God. It is for my good and his glory.

New mercy every morning is an invitation to rest, not to cease from activity, but to rest my ‘enoughness’ in Jesus and truly enjoy each and every good work, with a godward heart, I am enabled to do, (even if there are only a few) because these are evidence that I am chosen, adopted, loved, and assured of his sanctifying work in my life.

So yes, I will rise to the work of this day. I will make my bed and clear my table and clean, and hug children, teach, cook for my husband, pull my tree into the house to decorate, and repent and forebear. But today I will know that the magic was already made. It was made from garden, to manger, to garden, to glory…and in the heart of God before the foundation of the world.

The pressure is a lie. A false gospel.

It doesn’t rest on me to make Christmas magic for my family, but to point to the deep magic already here, believing it’s enough for even me. I am privileged to participate and practice day by day, at rest in the eternal ‘enough’ of Christ Jesus my Lord.

May your aprons and bibles both be well-worn,

The Remedial Homemaker

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