I remember being a little girl and feeling that magical Christmas feeling- the blend of cold air, freshly baked cookies, church service with candles, and the coming gifts. Those were the good old days when I was worry-free. As an adult, Christmas has brought stress, a constant feeling of rush, tight finances, and if I’m honest, even dread. And the only time I stop and think about the birth of my Savior is during Christmas Eve service.
This year, I sat back after eating Thanksgiving dinner with my family and was saddened by the reality of the Christmas season as an adult. We teach our children that this season is about giving, love, family, joy, and Jesus, but we allow ourselves to take on so much stress! That’s pretty backwards if you ask me, and I don’t want to teach my children one thing and live another way. I want to practice what I preach and live a simple, joy-filled, purposeful life.
Here are a few things I’ll be doing to put this goal into action . . .
How I Am Refocusing On the Reason this Season:
Keep the focus where it belongs. I know that Jesus is the reason for this season, but I don’t live in that truth. Instead I get all caught up in the rush of the world in December. This year I am going to read the story of Christmas and do a study on it. I am going to read it to my kids more than one time, and we are going to talk about it together. I’ll answer their questions and ask them what they think that night was like. Jesus will be the focus of this month in our home, as He should be.
Give simply. This year I am giving my husband a few simple things he wants (I’ve been keeping a small list of things he mentions for months), and we are taking a clue from the wisemen and giving the kids three gifts each. This leaves plenty of room in our tiny budget for friends and family’s gifts. We won’t be overdoing it at all, because there is no room for stress during Jesus’ special month!
Do enjoyable things and skip the errands. Shopping is a part of gift-giving, but this year I’ll be doing a good amount of my shopping online, and going out only once or twice. My goal is to skip the rush of shoppers and spend my time looking at lights, reading by the fire, baking, giving treats to my neighbors, and joining in on all the community holiday events this season.
I am determined to simplify and take more joy in this season. I will focus on the celebration of Jesus and not carry guilt for choosing simple gifts over elaborate ones, and quiet moments over the hustle and bustle.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
1 John 5:11