My oldest daughter, who loves all things Christmas, is giddy and over the moon. She has been torturing me with her count down app since school started.
“Mom, did you know there are only 20 more Saturdays ‘til Christmas?”
“Mom, only 15 more Saturdays!”
Today she declared,
“Mom, only 7 more Saturdays!”This one got my attention and I had a mini panic attack. Does this happen to you?
“Wait just a minute here! I’m not ready! I still have candy! I just bought a turkey baster for crying out loud!” I felt the need to plead with Father Time the way I plead with the nurse about to give me a flu shot… “Wait, wait, wait, I’m not ready!” I was just hitting my fall stride when someone increased the incline AND the speed on my treadmill and things began to feel rushed and forced.I don’t like when things feel rushed and forced.Growing up, I don’t remember my mom having a panic attack over the holidays. She appeared to seamlessly transition from one celebration to the next with perfect timing and precision.It felt special and thoughtful.
Maybe it was simpler back then. She had no emails to return or never ending sporting events to attend, a play to see or be in or volunteer for, a cookie exchange, an ugly sweater party, a company party, a kid’s cookie party, an ornament exchange, light displays and caroling with the church group. No shopping affairs and crafty bazaars; mandated daily advent calendars and devotions. And then there is gift-wrapping and decorating and baking.
Actually, except for the emails, all these other things were probably likely candidates for her attention but she chose to keep her commitments and responsibilities minimal and her priorities and traditions meaningful.
My mom has told me before, “You make choices and sacrifices and you simply say, “No” to things that don’t matter.”
Moms give good advice.
Are you already feeling the panic!
Are you worried things will get Manic!
Maybe not… good for you!!
But I know this time every year I think, “Okay, this year will be different.”
This year can be different.
I’m going for Minimal but Meaningful.
What if we brought our family holiday calendars before the Lord and asked Him how we should fill up the squares. Ask Him to show us what doesn’t need to be there. Ask our family what’s important to them and be honest and realistic with ourselves.
It feels like Christmas when we….
You may be surprised at what they say and what they don’t say.
My kids said, “It feels like Christmas when, “Mom busts out the Christmas sheets.”
I look forward to our annual Christmas Eve ice skating date with friends. Wouldn’t miss it!
For my husband, it’s a simple fire by the Christmas tree. Where do you shine, what brings life and joy and memories? Don’t bake if you don’t like it, don’t throw a big party if you aren’t the party throwing type. It will literally suck the life out of you. There are years when I feel the grace (emotionally and financially) for a big fancy party or to travel, and some years I want to curl up by the fire and watch TV from beneath a blanket because it has been a trying season or school year. It’s ok and healthy to know the difference and not force or rush things.I think the reason my mom never seemed stressed out was because she focused on the simple things, things she was good at that brought life and joy not stress and panic. (“Staying in your lane” I like to call it.) These things ushered in the spirit of the season and made us feel festive. They made us feel special. The only big event that took place was Christmas Eve church service and we looked forward to it because we weren’t exhausted, over sugared and over stimulated. Everything else was a special little meaningful gesture. A wreath, a cookie jar, a pillow, candy canes in hot chocolate.Minimal but Meaningful.When you’re in the kitchen, sitting by the fire or tucking little ones into their Christmas sheets, you can purpose to weave the meaning for the season into the things you do and say. Be present for your family. Stress robs you of that. Talk about why we feel the spirit of joy, goodness, kindness and anticipation miraculously hanging in the air during this season.Because of Jesus.
The awaiting of a King.
The hope of Salvation.
He did not come with fanfare, bells and whistles and choirs singing and fireworks exploding overhead.
There was just one tired couple and the kindness of a stranger and a solitary shining star hanging in the dark night sky. Those who were busy hustling and bustling probably missed it. The Miracle, Emmanuel wrapped up and hidden in the season. You almost have to slow down to see, to feel, to hear,
He is with us.
Minimal but Meaningful.