I’m a list freak. To-do lists, shopping lists, wish lists, packing lists—if it can be organized into a tidy horizontal column, I am all over it.
This is not good for my nerves this time of year.
Because during the Christmas season, every list blows up exponentially. Even women who don’t normally live by lists suddenly have lists for the holidays. It’s enough to make us all want pull a Krank and fly to the tropics ‘til New Year’s.
But. Not this year.
I’ve decided. I will not be bossed around by my to-do lists.
I will not let busyness and comparison and perfectionism rule my heart and mind.
And I don’t think you should, either.
So, to combat the to-do list mentality, I’m offering us—you guessed it—a list. Of a different sort. I call it my Christmas “do not” list.
1. This Christmas, I will not scold my kids for touching the ornaments, spilling hot cocoa, or licking more frosting off their fingers than they manage to spread on the cutouts. I will not think about my endless grown-up tasks when my children want to build snowmen or play Monopoly.
2. This Christmas, I will not kill myself over the perfect table setting, the tastiest appetizers, or a spotless (who are we kidding) house. Hospitality is more internal than external, so I will share the love of Jesus with everyone who walks through my door even as I hand them a paper plate from the dollar store.
3. This Christmas, I will not compare your child’s shepherd costume to my child’s shepherd costume, your Christmas card photo to my Christmas card photo, or your front porch lights to my lack thereof. We all love and serve our families with a variety of skills and capacities. I will celebrate who you are and not assume your successes are my failures.
4. This Christmas, I will not allow guilt to creep into my head over how many gifts I did or did not buy my children. Gifting is a personal decision based on personal convictions, budgets, and preferences. God knows how many dolls my daughter already has. That’s between Him and me.
5. This Christmas, I will not get sucked into family drama. I will speak kindly, refrain from gossip, and withhold judgment from the people God placed in my life to love as He loves. Even if they snub me. Even if they wound me. Even if they tell me my daughter already has enough dolls (yes I know that thank you).
6. This Christmas, I will not neglect my prayer time, my Bible time, or myself. I will keep the hype in perspective, open my eyes to the wonder, and give myself permission to park in front of the flat screen with a bowl of popcorn and It’s a Wonderful Life.
7. And this Christmas, as with every day, I will not be ashamed to celebrate my Savior, the reason for it all. In Him we live and move and exist. He is more magical than Santa, more desirable than diamond earrings, and more brilliant than a billion light shows combined.
Will you celebrate Him, too? He is so full of grace. And all those to-do lists—while they’re lovely and productive and sometimes just plain ridiculous—cannot possibly achieve the perfect Christmas. Because the only perfection we will ever find is Jesus himself.