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How to Have an Organic, Free-Range Christmas {It's Not What You Think}

How to Have an Organic, Free-Range Christmas {It's Not What You Think}

Merry Christmas!

No, really. Merry. Christmas.

Does that phrase right now bring a tightening in your neck, and a slight clench in your teeth, rather than inspiring joy and peace?

Me too.

Well…sort of.

This Christmas is a bit different for our family. It’s our first Christmas with a teenager in the house! And with teens, comes…busyness.

Oh. My. Word. Those teens do all the things!

These teen years are glorious and awkward and amazing and oh-so-hard. And it’s a daily adventure figuring out our family dynamic with one teen in the house, another hot on her heals heading straight into tweendom, and our third not too terribly far behind.

And this year, I found myself…exhausted. Exhausted at the thought of the holidays before they had even really begun. As November rolled on, the alerts and reminders stacked up in my phone for this holiday function, that Christmas party, this choir concert, that adopt-a-family thing, and on and on and on.

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Then one day, as I was driving around (because, again, all the things) feeling guilty for once again reneging on any sort of Advent lesson with my kids and convincing myself their spiritual health was surely in decline because of it, I sensed the Spirit whisper to my heart:

“Listen to the conversations you’re having with them. Just…listen.”

I had just been talking with my daughter about how we can’t read other people’s spiritual status, and discussing ways we can be encouraging them in the Lord whether or not we know if they follow Jesus.

My other daughter and I were talking about our thoughts on the song Mary, Did You Know. We landed somewhere in the arena of: Yes, she knew because God told her what was happening, but we don’t think she really knew, as in she didn’t fully realize what all her life as the Jesus’ mother was actually going to entail. (Can I get an amen on that one?)

The day before, we had been discussing what food to get for the family their school club had adopted. We talked about what we would like to receive if we were in their position, and we asked God to use this meager gift to bless them, and bring them closer to Him.

So, while we weren’t following a nightly curriculum or lesson plan—something which has given us great joy and served us well for many years—our Christmas season was still meaningful and full of intention.

It was just more…organic. Free range. After all, most of these things happened while we were roaming all over God’s creation, doing all the things. Don’t get me wrong, there have been quiet moments tucked in our home, and we build in margin for rest and family. And many times, it’s in those moments when we have our most meaningful and life-changing conversations. And many of us moms feel guilty for embracing the quiet just the same.

But let’s not kid ourselves that busyness is what pleases God. Checking off a litany of to-do’s to make ourselves feel better isn’t what God wants for us, or our kids. He wants us to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him—things that can be done with or without a set curriculum or plan. And I’ve seen him use both the organic and the structured in great ways in our family.

So, friends, in these few remaining days of the Advent season, I hereby give you permission to have a totally organic, free-range family Christmas. You might just find it to be just what the doctor ordered.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Jen Deibel

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Merry Christmas

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