How full is your cup?
November and December are, I think, the busiest months of the whole year. Farmers are finishing their harvests, teachers and students are counting down the days until break, and everybody is looking ahead to the holidays with some mixture of anticipation and anxiety. There are gifts to buy, cards to send, parties to attend, and food to prepare.
Just thinking about it makes me start to stress. I bet you wonder about the same stresses: Will I forget somebody on my card list? Will my house be clean enough to host parties? Will buying presents be a joy or a chore? Will getting together with family make me happy or anxious?
There’s this thing about holidays that for some reason we expect ourselves to 1) be happy for six weeks straight and 2) give and give of our time and energy and money and 3) say yes to every holiday expectation.
I don’t know about you, but some years I find myself tired of Christmas by December 15. I love the heart of the holiday: that Jesus came to live with human beings because of how much God loves us. I even love the parties, cards, food, and all that. Sometimes, though, the expectations get so high that I start to feel like I’m pouring out of an empty cup. I feel like I need to give more, but there’s none left to give. Sound familiar?
At moments like those, whether they come during the holiday season or at any other time, I remind myself to stop. Take a deep breath. Remember who it is who fills my cup. The psalmist wrote: “My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
How do you give God a chance to refill your cup? Is it prayer? Worship? Talking with a loved one? Giving yourself permission to rest? (God calls that “Sabbath,” by the way, and it’s important.) Singing a favorite song? Lighting a candle in silence? Whatever it is, it is even more crucial in a season that can overwhelm the joy of Jesus with the demands of December. Jesus will still come, whether or not we trim the tree and fix the food. He will fill our cup with joy. Phew.
God, the filler of my cup, help me find peace in you when everything else fills me with anxiety. Let the coming of Jesus fill me with your joy. Amen.
By Pastor Beth Wartick
Trinity Lutheran Church