rebelling against low expectations

Slow Down this Christmas


Last Christmas, my mom and I tackled errands together in chilly December weather.

As we buzzed through store after store with a list that always seemed to do more stretching than shrinking, I noticed how hectic everything was. A continual pattern of long lines, crowded aisles, and packed parking lots accompanied the bright, glittering decorations and festive music.

People rushed to purchase gifts and groceries in order to be properly prepared for the holidays just as we did.

Sadness spread through my heart. I wished things could be different, that somehow time would slow and we all could celebrate the Savior’s coming peacefully, quietly, joyfully—but hectic life during the holidays was “normal” and expected by everyone, myself included.

Christmas Chaos – Stress, hurry, and fatigue

Although “Joy to the World” is an acclaimed song that is usually on repeat during Christmas, our numerous traditions have packed so much—too much—into our schedules for tangible joy to thrive.

Such busyness cultivates stress, hurry, and fatigue instead of a quiet wonder and awe during the season of Christ’s birth. Most people don’t have time to catch their breath between December 1st and 25th. There is little time left to be still and know He is God, God with us. (Psalm 46:10; Matthew 1:13).

Is it possible to slow down enough to genuinely enjoy Christmas? To quietly worship Jesus and thank our King for coming as a humble baby in a dingy stable, who became poor by putting aside lavish riches of heaven for us, for our sins? (2 Corinthians 8:9)

His Quiet Coming – Would we have noticed?

I wonder what I would have done if I was lodging at the crowded inn at Bethlehem the night of Jesus’ birth instead of crossing off a to-do list in crowded stores. Would I have been so caught up in the swirling, boisterous noise that my distracted heart neglected to sense the Savior was coming, soon? That He was near in the womb of Mary when the innkeeper declared there wasn’t room for them.

As Jesus’ newborn lungs breathed oxygen for the first time on the earth He created, would the wail of His cries have reached my ears?

Maybe my heart would have been too crowded to care.

Would there have been a place for this miraculous Baby, God in the flesh, in the center of my distracted chaos?

My hope is that I would have, but I honestly don’t know. I’ve missed the miracle of His coming before at Christmas time in the dazzling brilliance of gifts under the trees, in the griping attitude as I compiled a long grocery list of ingredients for Christmas goodies and sides, and in the ugly baggage of my own sinful heart.

Making Room in Our Hearts – A commitment to quiet worship

But this year can be different.

Let’s commit to making a place for quiet worship in our hearts during the weeks leading up to Christmas. It might be in the minutes before bed reading a passage of Scripture as the tree lights cast a warm glow in the darkness of your living room, singing a praise song, or showing compassion to a sick, struggling friend, being there to comfort them in the bleakness of a hospital room.

Whatever we choose, whatever opportunities come—let’s take time to hide ourselves away, to linger before Him, tears falling in fresh awe of Him because He came to us that night in Bethlehem so that we could come to the Cross.

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About the author

Moriah Simonowich

Moriah is overcoming doubt and legalism to appreciate the steadfast love of Jesus–as well as what it means to be a well-beloved daughter (Lam. 3:22; Eph. 5:1-2, AMP). You can connect with Moriah on Instagram:


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  • Such a much-needed reminder, not only for the Christmas season – but all throughout the year! Thanks Moriah 🙂

  • Beautiful. This Christmas God is forcing my family to slow down-your words reminded me that this is a gift! <3 Thank you, Moriah!

  • Moriah, this is beautiful! You are an amazing writer. Every time I read your work, I am left feeling refreshed, encouraged, and in awe of God.
    “Would I have been so caught up in the swirling, boisterous noise that my distracted heart neglected to sense the Savior was coming, soon?”
    This resonated with me. In the midst of finals and deadlines mixed with the Christmas rush, this year God has really revealed to me how I need to take a moment to simply breathe and once again live in awe of who He is.
    Thank you for this excellent reminder!

    • You don’t know how encouraging it was to read your kind words, Faye!! Thank you! This month has been so challenging for me as a writer as I’ve tried to meet deadlines, so I can definitely relate to your struggle to slow down in the midst of those. Now that most of them been completed, I want to be able to truly spend time with the Lord and adore Him for coming for me…because of His love and redemption…for all mankind. Because truthfully, I haven’t stilled to remember in the chaos yet…but December isn’t over. I’m thankful there is still time!! 🙂

  • This is lovely, Moriah, and it rings so true! God’s coming was quiet and it can be so easy for us to miss it for that reason.
    Your article was a great reminder to slow down and cultivate wonder this December and into the rest of our lives.

  • So beautiful, so true, and so encouraging, Moriah! Thank you so much for writing….I always love reading your posts. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! 🙂

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →