The first draft of my post last week was, um, depressing.
As I prayed over it, mulled over it, re-read it, God shaped it into words I hope were encouraging.
It also got me thinking. I suspect I’m not alone in my struggle to keep a quiet heart in a culture where Christmas has been stripped of it’s sacred nature and transformed into a holiday filled with chaos. It’s morphed from a season of contemplating the birth of Jesus, who redeemed us to a time of crazy-busyness, buying and indulging.
Even with intentional effort to keep my focus on the real holy-day we’re supposed to be celebrating, I became overwhelmed with everything on my to-do list.
Which is what led to last week’s post.
And got me thinking about what I did right this year, as well as what I can change to make next year less chaotic. Here are 11 gifts (tips) in no particular order.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- Give yourself the gift of down time.
- The gift of sleeping enough. When I’m running short on sleep, I am short-tempered and get stressed out much more quickly.
- The gift of planning ahead so that in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas you can be purposeful in what you do.
- The gift of spending time with Jesus regularly.
- The gift of letting go of non-essentials. I love, love sending and receiving Christmas cards. Because of what our autumn held, we didn’t have time to write and send out Christmas letters. I was disappointed, but it lessened the pressure I felt for getting through this season.
- The gift of being purposeful in the activities you choose for your family.
- The gift of planning flexibility into your season. Be okay with saying no to an activity if there are other, family-important things to consider
- The gift of focusing on those you love. It’s all right to say no to a work party in order to create special memories with your children or those close to you.
- The gift of saying yes to some things that fill and refresh you.
- The gift of lowered expectations. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I hold myself to high standards. This year in particular, I’ve had to lower my expectations for all I thought I could accomplish and be for others.
- The gift of setting boundaries around your time. Do this by prioritizing what’s most important to you. Determine ahead of time that you will not push those aside because of 1) what others expect of you or 2) what you feel obligated to add on later. Evaluate each additional activity by what’s most important to you (your priority list should help you see this). If it doesn’t meet the criteria, say no. 🙂
As you walk out the final days of the 2013 Christmas season, I hope you find the rest and joy the Babe gifts to all who seek Him.
What about you? What works to help you keep a quiet heart in a busy season? What would you add to my list?
****P.S. I’m taking the next couple weeks off of blogging. I’ll be back January 7, 2014.****
Have a glorious, joyful Christmas!