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Dec
05

Christmas Stress or Christmas Less

By

The Christmas TreeChristmas season is almost upon us. Every year it catches me by surprise a little. I love Christmas cookies, lights, parties, and the celebration of His birth, but I think we all struggle with the busyness of it. The activities seem to be endless.

One thing I have been working on over the past few years is trying to look objectively at it.

What is it about the holiday that I am struggling with? If it is the busyness, what am I doing that I don’t have to do?

Idealistically I think how great it would be for my kids to make a homemade ornament for all the relatives. I want to make all the favorite Christmas cookies for multiple events like the church Christmas party, our moms cookie swap, teacher gifts, and the three holiday gatherings held at our house. Then there is the annual Christmas letter to write and wrapping, shopping, live nativity events and more. The sheer volume of activities makes me tired just thinking about it.

All the activity seems good when looking at the holiday pictures of past years. And then we see the pictures our friends have posted on facebook of all their baking and decorations. It all looks so perfect – picture perfect and I for one can fall into believing that this is what it looks like to celebrate the holiday. The smiling faces at the festivities may lead us to believe that in this busy season others have found joy when we have found stress.  

The truth is none of us are supermoms. We all have our usual responsibilities like work, baths, cleaning, church and laundry (and if you homeschool like me, one more thing to do). Somehow in our busy lives we are adding the Christmas season which is really about finding joy and peace in the birth of our Savior. Yet so often we find ourselves trying to look like we have it altogether and measuring our success by how many cookies we made from scratch, whether are gifts are homemade or store bought, how well our child did in the pageant and so much more.

The question I find myself asking each year is how can I do this better? How can I cut out the excess and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas? It doesn’t mean turning my back on all the fun traditions but it does mean being very purposeful about setting boundaries. I don’t want to be weary when the season ends, but refreshed because I tasted a glimpse of that beautiful holy night when the baby was born in the manger.  

Try to make a list of what you think you need to do in this holiday season. It could be a list on paper or just a mental list during some quiet moments with the Lord.

What things on your list do you have to do? Are there things that aren’t necessary which you could by pass this year? Maybe less cooking or less parties?

If you find yourself cutting out things that you did last year it doesn’t mean you have to cut out these things every year, it might just mean that for this season of your life you can’t do them. For instance, I have a one-and-a-half-year-old, work from home and homeschool. I am learning to be realistic about my limits. There are things I can’t do in this season of my life. It may be that this year I will skip the cookie swap because it is one more night out of the house along with the extra baking, which is just more time that I have to squeeze away from work and responsibilities.

We all have choices to make. Many of our activities are optional.  Don’t be driven by the social norm. Make the decisions that are best for you, your family and your business.

Lord, I desire to glorify You in this season. I want to remember the true meaning of Christmas and to have that peace and joy radiate my heart. Show me what choices I can make this season that will draw me closer to You. Amen

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