Feel buried under the deluge of Christmas activities and commitments? Is the stress mounting? It’s not too late to get Christmas under control. You can step back from the madness and refocus on the celebration of the birth of our Savior.
This is the third post in a series to help us de-stress Christmas. In the first post, we identified the problem. We are pressured by our culture, our peers, and ourselves to not just do it all, but to do it all with flair. Unfortunately, in the push to have the “perfect Christmas” we miss out on the best – the celebration and worship of Jesus. In the second post, we reflected on the priorities of the first Christmas – to share, worship, and ponder Jesus.
Today, we get practical by walking through 3 steps to help us cut back on the “quantity” of Christmas and hone in on the “quality.”
The day after Thanksgiving last year I was exhausted. I love having all my family, but cooking and dishes can take a toll. The thought of doing it all again in a few weeks overwhelmed me. So I asked the family how they’d feel about soup for Christmas dinner. To my surprise – and relief – every one of them said soup was just fine with them. Encouraged by their answer, I pressed a bit more. “How do you feel about the tree?” I had crossed a line with that one. The tree was a must. But I did make progress.
Last Christmas, we had soup instead of a huge, elaborate meal. It made a huge difference for me. I enjoyed the day and my family so much more. So just ask. Ask your family and ask yourself, what’s important and what’s not. You may be surprised too!
Think about the various ways you spend your time during the holiday season. What activities consume the most of your time and resources? What activities do you dread? Are these activities necessary? More importantly are they valuable?
In Thursday’s post, we discovered that those who experienced the first Christmas “shared, worshiped, and pondered” Jesus. Do your Christmas activities help you or your family share, worship, or contemplate our Savior? Here’s another way to measure the value of the things in which you invest your money and time:
- Does it put people over things?
- Does it focus on spiritual things instead of physical things?
- Does it further things that last or things that are temporary?
After you’ve asked and evaluated it’s time to follow through and actually eliminate some activities and cut back on others. I’m not saying we should cut out every fun activity if it doesn’t meet the criteria above. But we can find a balance that leaves plenty of room to share, worship, and ponder the Savior whose birth we celebrate.
If you dread hanging lights on the house then don’t do it! Seriously, what will it matter in the big scheme of things if you hang a wreath on the door and call it “done?!” Don’t want to make homemade cookies for the cookie exchange? Then don’t go or buy 6 dozen from a local bakery.
Even changing the way you do some activities can help. For instance, for years I was a “card snob.” I thought unless I addressed the envelopes by hand the cards were somehow “inferior.” But over the last few years, I’ve reclaimed time – and freedom – by printing my address labels. So feel free to buy those prepared pie crusts and cookie dough in a tub!
I really wonder what Jesus thinks when He sees us running around like chicken with our heads cut off during His birthday celebration. I’m sure there have been many times He has slowly shook His head and said, “Kathy, Kathy, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one” (Luke 10:41-42).
Believer, what would Jesus say to you? What one thing can you eliminate today to make time to sit at Jesus’ feet and bask in the joy of the season?