Some verses in Isaiah 54 and 55 have meant a lot to me during the whole divorce process. Particularly Isaiah 54:15 and 17 whenever any mention of the trial came up.
So, in preparation for going to court, for the last few weeks, I’ve been having my quiet times in Isaiah 54 and 55. Today it just so happened that the rather odd verse came up that is right in between those two powerful verses for facing a court case.
Isaiah 54:16 —
“See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc.”
Today, when I read those words about the destroyer working havoc, all I could think about is Christmas.
Last night, at Home Fellowship, one of the men mentioned that this week he told his kids, “Kids, Christmas is going to break your mother.” It became a saying, because we felt like it could apply to all the mothers present!
This morning I slept super late, and I was very discouraged — I had planned to do so much to prepare for Christmas today! I’m working six days in a row next week. Now how on earth will I get it all done?
So I thought about Christmas when I read, “It is I who have created the Destroyer to work havoc.”
Surely it’s true that God created Christmas. But where did the havoc come from? Why does Christmas destroy our peace of mind?
I think it’s American culture that heaps expectations on Christmas, especially on Moms. We’re supposed to make everything perfect — gifts for everyone, parties, projects, decorations, baking and cooking, everything has to be just so. In Germany, the Germans didn’t seem nearly so over-the-top about Christmas. But Americans go overboard with everything.
Why would God allow all these expectations to grow up around the celebration of the birth of His Son? Why would He let Christmas become so full of havoc?
I got to thinking that maybe we need it to be havoc in order to take a good look at all those expectations. Maybe it’s God’s grace that the expectations have gotten to be more than any one person could ever possibly meet. Maybe it forces us to take a look and decide only to do what we can, and what’s meaningful to us.
After all, who will be happy if we really do get everything absolutely perfect? Will our kids really care? Do our friends and family want us to go into debt? Do they care if maybe our gifts are a few days late? If our decorating causes more stress than smiles, is it really worth it?
Anyway, thinking about Christmas as a Destroyer working Havoc this morning made me smile. It helped me take it all less seriously and lighten up. I did what I could, and the rest will have to wait. And if stress drives out joy, it’s just not worth it.
I don’t want to think of Christmas as Havoc. I want to think of it as Joy.