I’ve talked a LOT about intentionally making Christmas…about Christmas this year. You may even be a little tired of hearing about it.
But I kind of can’t help talking about it…because I NEED to hear it over and over…daily…and I have a feeling that I’m not the only one. I’m discovering that when I refuse to allow the worries and wants and whims to fill up my head, I have more space to breathe.
That empty part of me that constantly cries out for MORE…is quieted by the MORE of God.
It sounds totally backwards to the messages we hear all around us. I mean, hello, my inbox is filled with reminders of this sale and that sale…as though Christmas itself is on sale for a low, low price.
It kind of is, if you think about it. We can buy the world’s version of Christmas, and get that temporary thrill of anticipation that wells up within us until the presents are unwrapped. But like a balloon with a slow leak, that pseudo-Christmas joy is diffused in a room full of torn wrapping paper and empty boxes.
I’ve had my share of freak-out moments over the last two weeks, most of which have come in moments where I feel bombarded with to-do’s. (And the other half occurred in the craft aisle, as we talked about earlier.) Thankfully I’ve returned quickly back to sanity each time, by reminding myself why I decided not to get hyper-stressed this year. (So far, it’s worked.)
Conversations about simplifying Christmas generally seem to circle back to the question of “how?”; and I’m not sure there is one easy answer. I don’t know that you can experience the peace of simplification unless your heart is involved in that change. It’s like going on a diet without changing your mind about food. You might lose weight, but you’ll probably put it all back on when you’re “diet” is over.
So it is with Christmas. If your aim is to de-stress, you need to know what’s stressing you out in the first place. The effort to calm down won’t do much good if you’re just working through a bulleted list of what-to-do and what-not-to-do. Goals are just meaningless if there is no “why” behind them.
That’s why I love Ruth Soukup’s 12 Days to a Stress-Free Holiday Challenge. She doesn’t just throw out empty suggestions; but she helps you understand your motivations, and then gives you practical advice on how to be proactive so that you avoid the major holiday stressors. If you sign up today, you’ll also get her Holiday Planner for FREE. (I’m using it this year, and it’s helped me line things out so that I don’t feel like I’m drowning.) (I still haven’t filled out the menu part, but whatever.)
So how is December going for you this year? Are you enjoying the season…or are you enslaved to the pressures and expectations?
“…behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)
This season is all about a great big God who came to meet you right where you are. And that’s good news that was meant to bring you great joy. Not stress.
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