Christmastime… What an absolutely delightful time of year! It is filled with family gatherings, Christmas music, Christmas cards & goodies, time with friends, celebrations, plays, nativities, gifts, lights & decorations and hopefully some time off from normal life to love the people in your life more freely. After all, there is reason to celebrate this time of year…our Savior’s birth! It can become a challenge with all the extra things we want to add to normal life. Honestly it can end up a little stressful which in the end defeats the whole purpose of the Season. So, I ask myself the question…How can I celebrate Christmas well this year? What does that look like for me and my family? We just came through the Thanksgiving holidays, and while it went smoother than last year there is still plenty of room to do it better. In coming into this Christmas Season, I have renewed determination to seek out the Lord’s heart and what He is asking of me.
I want to simplify Christmas this year, focusing on the Savior. I want to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas, while making it fun and special. I want to spend time with family making memories. I want to get in touch with neighbors and friends and be an encouragement. I want to plan well, and not overflow my schedule, so there are extra minutes in my day. How can I do only the most important things? As I was reading on Christmas, I was reminded that when Jesus was born, the setting was far from perfect. Today, we enter the Holidays with far from perfect circumstances in our lives. There is something about Holidays that brings out the especially hard things in life and magnifies them, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, broken relationships, financial difficulties, health issues or any less-than-perfect scenario.
And then I wonder what my expectations really are? Am I pushing through my limitations to fulfill expectations? Am I trying to accomplish too much and pushing through just to get it all done, yet expecting different results? I don’t want to be so absorbed with the stressful parts that I am consumed and miss the good parts.
I believe the Lord has placed an excitement in my heart for ways of celebrating Christmas, so I will follow through and do those things. But I keep thinking maybe it comes back to me. Perhaps the real question is not what all I am supposed to do or not do… rather it is how can I avoid stress and being overwhelmed? How can I remain calm? Whatever I decide to do, to do it well. The word “rest” came to mind. The definition of rest is “to cease work or movement in order to relax and refresh oneself or recover strength.” Rest is the opportunity to exercise faith that we will be taken care of in the absence of our “doing”. So how do I gain the best kind of rest? I need to take time with Jesus…sitting at His feet…resting in the quiet…gaining strength and direction for whatever is next. I believe this truly brings delight to the heart of the Father. How easy it is in the busyness of life to think life is too busy for this time of quiet and rest. On the contrary, what we want most happens in this time of rest if we can just take the time for it. I want to be like the Shepherds, as described in Luke 2…they ran to find baby Jesus with excitement, as fast as they could. The blessing in this is that when I am recharged and refueled, I have something left to give to the people in my life and am excited to do so. It helps me to love the people dearest to me. My family will appreciate the gift of calmness that I can give to them.
So now that we are in the Christmas Season…let’s remember that it is all about the Holy Spirit bringing peace and joy through a Baby Boy. May we seek the Father and experience the Splendor of the Season. May our lives be an offering to Jesus. May He give us all we need to celebrate Christmas well!
Anita Martin, Randy’s bride of 15 years lives in a renovated historic home with children Bentley, Bella, Lincoln, Talli, and Cooper. She enjoys spending time with her family, loves being outdoors and her happy place, her Daily Bike Ride. Her love for Jesus is evident- she excels in living in the present and thrives on real conversation.