I ran into a friend at the grocery store last week. She’s one of those classic beauties, the kind that look effortlessly pretty in workout pants and no makeup. As we stopped to chat, she told me she felt like there was a pre-Christmas mountain of expectations and things to do, to the point where it was hard to enjoy the holiday itself. The struggle’s real, people.
I say this to myself, my friend, and any other woman out there who feels like she has ever run on the hamster wheel of Christmas madness: Stop. Breathe. Repeat. Say thank you to yourself for everything you do every single day of the year for others. Say thank you to yourself for everything you’ve already gotten accomplished on that Christmas list. Take a nap. Eat a cookie. Chill.
I think in the midst of all the expectations, the carrying on of traditions, and the general crowdedness of life that happens during Christmas, it is easy to forget why we are doing it all. Are we trying to impress people, online and offline? Appease our families? Create meaningful memories? Cultivate a special time of love and generosity? Celebrate the birth of Jesus?
If we can get a hold of our “why” it’s much easier to decide what is truly important. I’ve come up with four questions that make a “During Christmas” Inventory. The idea is to decide what is truly important and what causes stress so a plan can be made to maximize the good and minimize the bad. Ready? Here are my answers:
What is important to me?
Spending quality time with close friends and family
Celebrating the birth of Jesus
Blessing and serving others with thoughtful gifts and kindness
Enjoying the lights, music, and delicious food that is specific to this time of year
What am I thankful for?
My health and the health of my family
Warmth, coziness, and plenty to eat
God making the impossible possible so He could come and be with us on earth
The ability to bless others
Gifts given and received
What do I want to avoid or let go of?
Pressure to be at every gathering I’m invited to – including with family
Crowds and chaos
Being stressed about spending too much money
Weight gain from stress eating
Pressure to make my house look like a Christmas showroom
What do I need to stay healthy sane?
Peace, quiet, a good book and time to read it
Exercise, good food, and fresh air
Time for prayer and worship
Feeling appreciated for what I do
Laughter and positivity
You can download your own During Christmas Inventory here.
Despite what it feels like, we have the freedom to choose our perspectives and actions every day, in every season. Sometimes it feels good and sometimes it’s a battle. But the important thing is to remember that we have a choice. When we lead our lives according to the whims of the world and the expectations of others, we will feel ambushed and empty – always lacking, never enough…
…and my friend, if you are anything, you are more than enough.
Lord help us to know what is important in this busy season. Thank You that You believed we were important enough to bypass the whims of this world and bring Your Child through a virgin just so You could be with us and bring us new life. May the thought of that miracle alone stir up Love and settle us in Your Peace.