Christmas is the most wonderful time of the yea. Well, at least that is what I always say.
And while I enjoy the decorations, baking, parties and gift giving, the truth is that at times I forget to slow down and enjoy the season.
This year, I want to change that!
This year I want to slow down and be present and enjoy my blessings and be a blessing to others.
My Christmas Wish
- Spread Cheer
- Stress Less
- Enjoy My Blessings
- Be a Blessing to Others
Let’s break this down.
I want to be a light. I want to shine and be joyful.
NOT fake joy and fake happiness, but I want the love of Jesus to shine through me in how I treat others.
I want to be a source of encouragement and love for those I come in contact with.
In a sense, I just want to be a warm smile to all those I encounter.
Okay. This will definitely be the hardest for me.
I am a stresser, a worrier, and a perfectionist.
But let me take a moment to say, that I know that is something I put on myself.
Not my friends. Not my children. Not my husband. BUT MYSELF!!
In my mind, I want perfection. I don’t want my Christmas cookies to burn. I want to bring the perfect appetizer to a party. I want my house to be company ready. I want coordinating outfits and picture perfect smiles.
Well, guess what? That ain’t gonna happen.
And guess what else? Those moments of imperfection create some the best memories for my family.
We love our mismatched PJs and tattered slippers. My kids take pleasure in seeing the ornaments that they hung on the tree in an awful pattern (I am cringing as I type this!) We laugh over the gingerbread houses that fall apart and the broken cookies that are only worthy for us to eat–the kids love that!
And even more shocking? My friends would rather hang out with me in their sweats in a house filled with dust bunnies and drink wine from plastic cups then come over and feel like they have to put on a show and tell their children not to touch the furniture and not to laugh too loud….you get the idea.
We put perfectionism on ourselves. People around us take joy in the reality of our lives and feel more at ease when things are NOT perfect.
Enjoy My Blessings
This sounds simple. But this is where I need to SLOW down (again, against my nature) and stop and enjoy the giggles and the impromptu Christmas caroling and dance parties that erupt at the most inconvenient times (AKA DINNER).
I have been given SO much and my children and my husband are so precious to me, as are my family and friends. What does any of this matter if I can’t kick back and enjoy what God has blessed me with.
Be a Blessing to Others
This goes back to Spread Joy, but is a bit more than a warm embrace.
At this time of the year my church launches a “Be Rich. Do More.” campaign.
We focus on that regardless of what cable package we have or what kind of car we drive, we are wealthier than 90% of this world.
That wealth and our time have the potential to bless thousands.
So I want to have my children fill Operation Christmas Child boxes and deliver hand-made cards to Nursing Homes. I want to fill a few book bags for students in need. I want to deliver a few extra meals to a struggling single parent.
I can’t do it all, but I can DO MORE. And what better way to spread Christmas Cheer and honor my Savior’s birth then with being a blessing to those in need.
Matthew 25:35-40 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
So let me challenge you to make my Christmas Wish your own. I think if we focus on people and joy instead of the gifts this will be a Christmas to remember.
I say all of this and sound like I really have a game plan to make my wish come true. But the truth is that I need accountability.
So I have found several ways to stay encouraged and keep my stress level in check and my priorities in balance.
Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer have a newsletter you can sign up for 7 days to a hassle free holiday. It is just some practical and easy tips to manage your to-dos.
Ruth Sukop from Living Well Spending Less, has a Holiday Planner to help you be intentional with your time and energy this time of the year. When you sign up for this FREE planner, you also get 12 daily emails on a Stress-Less Christmas. Not one day have I not been encouraged in these 12 days!!
And finally and most importantly, my Bible. What a difference it makes in my day to start the day and hand it over to God. I also love to read Proverbs 31 devotions as another source of inspiration.