Find Your Peace This Christmas Week
With one week left before Christmas, kids home from school. New Years… We all free pressured to get more done than humanly possible. Especially when we let that “what will so and so think” mantra play in our heads.
With Christmas creeping into the stores as the back to school supplies are cleared out in September, it’s no wonder we don’t feel the joy of the season anymore. And, with such a long buying season, every time we are in the store we feel like we can buy just one more thing. It may be only $5 or $10, so what’s the big deal? But it’s when we do that weekly or we find that now we have to buy many new things just so we have a “coordinated theme” then we really get into trouble. Do we really need all that stuff to celebrate Christmas?
I’m not Anti-Christmas
I’m not anti-Christmas. I’m not anti-decorating. I love the season. The snow, the twinkling lights, searching out just the right gift for someone you care about, the food, the movies and the music. I remember growing up going to the Christmas play practice from little on. I’ve played piano for Christmas plays, sang in choirs since I was a child, and have even been in Christmas plays. But when the joy of the season gets lost in the stress of buying, decorating, trying to figure out how to pay for everything, that’s going overboard. It’s even worse if your inner peace and joy are disturbed enough that you’re snapping at your family, going to bed angry with your spouse because they weren’t helping, or they are upset with you because of the excessive spending, snapping at the kids for disturbing you when trying to do one project after another or when they are just being kids and mess up something. That’s overboard.
What Christmas IS to Me
Christmas, in my life, is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. It’s thinking about how God, in His desire to make a way for us to spend eternity in heaven with Him, sent His one and only Son as a newborn baby to live the perfect life we cannot live. It’s that birth, that sacrifice, that ultimate Gift that makes Christmas for me. Without that, it’s just a day to have a huge gift exchange and overindulge in foods we probably shouldn’t eat anyway. And because God showed His Love by sending Jesus as a perfect gift, I, too, like to find perfect gifts to give those I love.
What to Do When You’re Stressed and Lose Your Peace
When you find yourself snapping. When you can’t figure out how you’re going to pay for something. When your schedule is SO full that your relationships suffer it’s time to re-evaluate and make a plan. Here are some hints.
Does it NEED to be done?
What is most important?
Are there things I can – or should – cut?
Can I enlist someone’s help?
Is my husband on board with my plans?
How can I foster joy and peace for the entire family through these plans?
Does it matter in eternity? Will it matter even next year?
Will my life, the family, the house fall apart if I don’t do some of these things?
Is it humanly possible? (I always seem to have more on my “to do” list that I can possibly do)
Slow down the Speeding Train!!
Although it’s too late to stop the speeding train at this late date, I encourage you to at least slow it down. If you feel rushed, pressed beyond your limits, out of control, angry, depressed, or any other negative emotion, I encourage you to stop and take a few moments to first take a few deep breaths. Then sit quietly and just think about what needs to be done for a few moments. Jot down what all comes to mind. Then look at the list and decide if you really need to do all those things. If you can’t decide, or if you have a relationship where your husband is involved in these types of plans, ask him what he sees as the priorities and if there is anything he feels needs to be cut.
If you can’t decide, or if you have a relationship where your husband is involved in these types of plans, ask him what he sees as the priorities and if there is anything he feels needs to be cut. This will be a real learning experience if you’ve never done this before. You may learn that he could care less if you have popcorn on the tree, or a wreath on the door, or stollen, or even a big Christmas meal but what he would really miss are those bulls-eye peanut butter treats that you always make. Next year put it on your calendar in October to have a date with your husband and ask what he envisions for Christmas. What things, traditions, foods, decorations, activities would bring him joy? Create that picture together and work out a plan to get it done. We’ll talk more about that next year.
What is Most Important?
If you need further convincing, there’s a story in the Bible where Jesus came to visit his friends, Mary and Martha. Martha was running around getting the house and food ready. She had BIG plans for this time together. What she wanted to get done far exceeded her ability to get it all done. So, she started yelling at her sister to help her. But Mary was enjoying her company. Mary felt relationships were more important than all the other tasks. Finally, Martha goes to Jesus and explains that she needs help getting all these things done and Mary isn’t helping her. Then tells Jesus to command Mary to help her. To her shock and dismay Jesus said, No, Martha, Mary has chosen the better thing. I am with you only a little while…
Many years ago I met Jill Bond at a homeschooling conference. A while later she wrote a blog entitled, More Mary Less Martha
Look at the Holidays. When I get stressed I think about that article and I thank Jill for reminding us what really important in the holiday season. You can read Jill’s online magazine here: Blessed Living Women’s E-Magazine.
Have a blessed and peaceful week, filled with joy and laughter.