Monday, December 12, 2022

How-to have Him in the Midst

 A Christ-Honoring Holiday.  Is that your desire?  I know it is mine.  I posted not too long ago some startling statistics.  The amount of women feeling stress during this time of year is sad.  I know it's not how Christ wants us to feel, especially when we are to be focusing on celebrating His birth!  But, with everything we are doing, how can this change?  How can we not feel busy and rushed, like life is passing us by?  How can we feel that the moments we spend are meaningful and will one day be treasured memories?

Let me start by saying I don't have it all figured out.  There are times I lay my head on my pillow and think, "Wow, what a wonderful day.  We made beautiful memories and this day was successful."  Other days my eyes close before my head even hits the pillow because the day was so full of hecticness (is that even a word?) and stress and I have a feeling of defeat.  I think most, if not all, Mommas have been there.  But, I am thankful that I am learning and growing, and God has shown me some things that I'd like to share.

I was going to title this, "How to have a Christ Honoring/Stress-Free Holiday"  but that would defeat my first point, so I think it should be titled "How to have a Christ Honoring/Stress-Less Holiday"

~Guard your expectations.  Yesterday we had our Christmas Store at church.  I gave my children my usual speech on Expectations.  As I was telling them all the reasons to guard your expectation, I realized I needed this talk even more than them!  We have all trained ourselves that the normal day in December should be picture perfect.  We watch movies where every room is perfectly decorated (and clean and uncluttered), everyone is dressed in festive (and clean) clothes, no bad hair days, and definitely no one has the flu!  Our expectations are always high this time of year.  And they can really rob us of our joy.  We have to guard our minds against dreaming that everything will be perfect.  It won't be.  There will be runny noses that keep us from going to that event we were looking forward to.  There will be coffee spilled on the sweater you were saving to wear to that special party.  There will be unforseen circumstances that happen that wasn't what you planned.  It's okay.  Tell your heart and mind that memories aren't always made when everything flows as it should.  Memories are made when you least expect it. Romans 8:28 is the perfect reminder to us.  Believe it and trust God to work all things for good.

~Be willing and able to say NO.   It's hard to do, but it's absolutely necessary.  We can't possibly do everything we want to do during the month of December.  Saying no to some things will be so freeing. You dont' have to participate in every gift exchange.  Sometimes finances won't allow it.  Don't be ashamed to say and sweet "No."

~Have a reasonable plan, yet be flexible.  Things will change at a moment's notice.  And that's okay!  Be willing to roll with it and be flexible.  I've noticed that when I'm disappointed and upset when unplanned things come up, my kids have the same feelings times 10.  But, if I'm flexible and look for the good, then that feeling is catching and they end up doing the same.

~Take care of yourself physically.  Get enough sleep.  This one is so important!  Try to grab and apple or some grapes. When we are rested and have eaten at least a little something healthy, we do so much better.

~Don't spend too much money.  Remember money doesn't equal memories.  Moments equal memories.

~Take care of yourself Spiritually.  Do not neglect your time with the Lord.  I think out of all the points this is the most important.  It's so easy to put our relationship with the Lord on hold in December.  How silly is that!  But with late night Christmas movies and parties, getting up before everyone else seems insurmountable.  Don't let your priorities be thrown off.  He is the reason for this season!! Choose to spend extra time with the Lord.  Read His Word more. Pray more.  You need that time with Him!  Dont' forsake it!

~Ask the Lord to show you what you should be doing.  If you would look on your calendar and ask, "Why am I really doing this?"  it would reveal so much to you.  Your Christmas doesn't have to look like anyone else's.  Just because your parents had EggNog and stockings on the 23rd, doesn't mean you have to.  Ask the Lord what should be on your calendar and what is really important.  Ask your family, too.  They don't want to be stressed this holiday either!  We sometimes get so busy doing things that nobody even wanted to do in the first place, but we didn't communicate that.  You don't have to do it all. 

Dear sister reading this, you don't have to be stressed this Christmas.  You can make beautiful memories this year.  There is only one you.  Don't feel pulled in too many places.  Choose to let go of things that aren't that important.  Choose to focus more on the Lord this year.  Choose to look in the eyes of your sweet kiddos as they look at the Christmas lights.  Choose to make moments of hot cocoa and Christmas music while just sitting with your feet up.  Choose to dwell on Luke 2.  You can have a beautiful Christmas Holiday!

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