How much will you say “yes” to this season? Will you be worn out and stressed by the time Christmas gets here? Will you run yourself and your family ragged trying to do everything and be everything?
As much as I love Christmas and all its trappings, it does always seem to be the season of excess. So much shopping and spending. So many parties and events. So much food to cook and eat. So many expectations, most of which we never entirely meet.
We need less busyness, more Jesus this Christmas!
I find myself aching for a simpler Christmas this year. Acutely needing to scale back and soak in the meaning of Christmas, instead of the hype.
As if preparing for Sabbath, I’ve found myself preparing this month for Christmas. Trying to get as much of the ‘work’ done ahead of time. Christmas cards are printed and ready to mail. Much of my shopping is done and I’ve even started wrapping.
However, even this advance preparation hasn’t felt like enough. As I looked over the calendar for December, my stress level began to rise. So much I want to do in so little time. So many days already spoken for… Where do I draw the line so the season doesn’t become one big, stressful to-do list? What can I cut out and still feel festive and create special Christmas memories with my kids?
I think we could fill every waking moment (including staying up past bedtimes) with fun Christmas activities. Office holiday parties, gingerbread house decorating events, Christmas light viewing, caroling, theater productions, holiday fun runs, parties for the kids, and the list goes on and on… But, does it become too much? How often are we worn out by the time Christmas get here – and still feel like we didn’t get it all done?
This year I’m saying “no” so I can say “yes” to Jesus.
Every year of my childhood, my mother threw a cookie-decorating party for me and my friends. It was one of the highlights of my childhood. One of those special memories I will always hold dear. I wanted to do the same for my children and build that kind of Christmas tradition.
As I looked over the calendar this year, trying to find a date for a cookie party, I instead found stress. Too many other engagements already on the calendar, too little time to prepare. So, I made a difficult decision to say “no” to one tradition that meant a lot to me and I know would be fun for the kids. Saying “no” to this, however, means I have more of me to say “yes” to Jesus this season.
Let’s savor the season of Advent, more than the frenzy of Christmas
I hung my Advent calendar wreath over my desk and I can’t wait to begin turning over each day’s card. Can’t wait to spend time with each scripture lesson and letting each carol fill my heart. I want to feel this Christmas season deeply. I want to immerse myself in the story of Jesus and the promises of his birth.
So, will you join me in saying “no” to something this season? Scale back a little. Focus a little less on the trappings of Christmas so you can focus more on the reason we celebrate. Spend a little more time soaking in the story of Jesus and why his birth changed the world.
Or, try my Pray Deep for Advent devotional journal. Available in print or Kindle formats, this book will provide daily prayer prompts through scripture and hymns. Prepare your heart to receive Christ with hope, peace, love, and joy.
I wish you all a blessed and low-stress Christmas season!