Tis the season! Time to gather with loved ones, make cherished memories with your children, and celebrate the birth of our Savior! Yea for Christmas!!!
I love, LOVE, LOOOVE Christmas!
Yet this time of year can get overwhelming. Very overwhelming. I was talking to a friend a few days ago who already seemed tired just anticipating the celebrating and dealing with the pressures to do ALL the holiday things and do them all well.
I knew exactly what she meant. As moms, we especially feel this pressure to pull off a Pinterest-perfect, Instagram-worthy Christmas. We want it to be “sparkles in the air” exciting for our children, with joy, laughter, and precious memories being made daily.
From decorating our tree and home, baking Christmas cookies and treats, sending holiday cards, attending numerous Christmas events and gatherings with friends and family, shopping for “just the right gift,” not to mention making sure that the season is truly meaningful for our families by doing Advent calendars or Bible readings with our children every day, December can be a busy, stress-filled month.
Well, it can if we let it.
I mean, who says we have to do it all? Who says we have to do any of it?
Don’t want to send Christmas cards this year, or can’t bake cookies to save your life?
Then don’t do it.
I know. It’s revolutionary.
But seriously, if you’re zapping the joy from your holidays (and probably of those around you) by striving to live up to all the expectations you think someone has for you or that you’ve put on yourself, let me tell you what I told my friend:
Nobody is grading your holiday.
Not your family.
Truly, your children won’t miss half of the things you think they might. Sure, you want to do the things they love if you can, but they don’t need a lot of activities, crafts, goodies, or even presents (yes, I said it!) to have a wonderful, memorable, meaningful Christmas. Besides, sometimes we have them so Christmas-saturated that it’s no wonder they have trouble seeing Jesus amid all the chaos and noise.
Pick the things that are the most important to you to do as a family during the holidays, and do those. Everything else can fall by the wayside or make the list to do another year.
Not your friends.
We all have things that make our holidays special. What is an important tradition to my crew may not be special for yours. Just because another family is celebrating a certain way doesn’t mean that we need to be doing it, too.
(For example, my friend liked the idea of St. Nicholas Day, something that my family began observing last year. However, she knew that she wouldn’t be ready this year to introduce it to her boys.)
Not even Jesus.
If all your Christmasing is exhausting you physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or financially, I honestly think Jesus would probably tell you to chill.
Think about it: Sometimes all our wonderful holiday doings actually make it harder for us to focus on Him and all His coming means to us.
That’s the whole point of the season, isn’t it? Focusing on Jesus. Remembering that moment in time when God “became flesh and dwelt among us.”
And if you miss a night of reading your family’s Christmas devotional (it’s happened in our home once or twice), breathe.
God isn’t impressed with how much we DO to observe Christmas. The Bible tells us that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
If your heart is toward Him, God knows.
We could run ourselves ragged keeping up with all the best traditions for Christmas, but if our hearts are NOT on Him in the midst of those activities, what are we really celebrating anyway?
So, cut yourself some slack this year. Let go of some of that holiday to-do list. Give yourself and your family some time to truly enjoy each other and reflect on the One you’re doing all this to celebrate.
My advice: Even if you don’t make it to see “The Nutcracker” this year, at least make sure you see Jesus.
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