She whispered it so quietly I didn't hear her at first.
I had to ask her to repeat herself.
The second time around, I could hear it a bit better.
I am dreading the holidays.
She said it as though she knew she wasn't "supposed" to agonize over the coming days. But couldn't quite seem to help herself.
The noise, the stress, the frazzle, the financial strain.
Hardly something to look forward to on top of all the other things she had going on as mom.
And now to add some guilt on top of that already teetering pile on her heart.
Oh, my dear friend, you are right: This is not how is it supposed to be.
And it's not how it has to be either.
The celebration of Christ's birth is meant to be a joyous affair!
How to Keep the Joy in Your Christmas This Year
Stick to your priorities. Jettison everything else. I love this one because it makes everything so much easier. Once I know what is important to us - to our family - then everything else gets a polite, "No thank you." You are not obligated to attend every craft bazaar, cookie exchange, or Christmas play. You are only committed to what is best for your family.
Reject all commercialism. It has no place in your home. Block advertisements, mute the television, and throw out the garbage coming at you. Pay zero attention to the world's attempt at redefining Christmas. They've got it all wrong. Stick to the Real Story of Christ.
Refuse to Compare. So the gals in your Bible Study are making 3-story gingerbread houses, homemade gifts for both friends and family, and decorating their homes with handmade ornaments? Nothing wrong with that, but it just might not be where you're at. Not this year. Maybe not even any year. And that's okay because your home is joyous and peaceful and that makes for some of the most beautiful decor, don't you think?
Keep it Simple. Maybe easier said than done, but it's possible and it's never too late to change things. Here are a few ways to simplify your holidays:
- Limit the number of Christmas parties/events you'll attend.
- Block out evenings where you don't go anywhere and stay home and string popcorn instead.
- Bow out of gift-exchanges. Consider opting out, if this tradition add stress and financial burden.
- Put your heart, rather than your wallet, into your presents. Can I confess something? We only give one or two presents to each of our children. Yet we have a very happy Christmas celebration and no debt when it's all over.
Not too long ago I asked our 4 older children (ages 16 to 20) what they enjoyed most about our Christmas together as a family. Their answers were a little surprising. They mentioned things like "cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning" and "opening up their stockings" and "the Advent calendar".
Such simple things.
Nothing about all the Christmas crafts, the decor, the parties, or plays.
Just little things like candlelight and reading the Christmas Story.
Gathering as a family.
Nothing to dread there.
So, if you're like my friend, and already feeling anxious about the coming holidays, I hope you're encouraged.
And I hope you can celebrate the coming of the Christ-child . . . with JOY!
Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women