Hi gals! I had a busy Saturday morning, so I’m a little late getting today’s post up. For that matter, I’m late getting it written! ‘Tis the season!
In fact, last night James and I attended a small group Christmas party and tonight we’re going to two more, back to back. This morning I was at the Christmas gathering of our church’s moms’ group and tomorrow evening our church choir performs its cantata. Whew! I bet your weekend could be very similar to mine, if not even more busy.
Not only is my house getting a little messy with all of our darting in and out, but I feel my waistline expanding. This is not a good time to not be working out consistently, but earlier this week, when I visited the doctor because of some pains I’ve been experiencing, she asked me to stop weightlifting for a couple of weeks. So, while I’m trying to get a walk in here and there, I don’t have the usual stress relief of a good workout to fall back on.
Y’all! I was awake last night from two-thirty to around four o’clock contemplating all of these stress factors and more. I worried over the extra calories and the decrease in workouts, the laundry marinating in the washing machine, the lack of healthy foods in my refrigerator and the overflow of cheese balls, the post I needed to be writing and the editorial calendar for the new year, the gifts I still need to wrap and when we could schedule time to celebrate Christmas with our son. Of course, I didn’t manage to get on top of anything during my nighttime fretfulness. Rarely have I solved a problem stewing over it in the wee hours of the morning.
As I sipped coffee punch and nibbled on quiche this morning around a table filled with young moms, I realized we all, regardless of age or stage of life, struggle with finding a way to enjoy Christmas in the midst of the buyness and demands. This season can be so overwhelming. Or it can just fly by and we realize the date passed on our calendar but nothing swelled in our hearts. And isn’t that what we all long for? A little fullness of heart, the making of some sweet memories, a few meaningful conversations and maybe even a rare spiritual epiphany?
So I’ve put a little thought into how I can somehow manage to truly enjoy this Christmas season. I want to really experience the reason for the season, don’t you?
I’d love for you to join me in this little brainstorming session here. I don’t claim to have all the answers. Maybe you’ve come up with a practice that helps you authentically engage with Christmas in a meaningful way. Please share your ideas in the comments! Truly. I’m offering three tips to help us truly enjoy the Christmas season. But I’d love to hear from you this weekend, too.
Tip #1 – Be consistent with your daily quiet times. I know that sounds elementary. But with houseguests and travel and changes in schedules, it’s easy to skip my morning ritual of Bible reading, meditation and prayer. But I think it’s more important than ever to doggedly stick to the plan! (Here’s my morning routine, if you missed this post. I’ll be doing my best to stick with it through Christmas, even though we’re traveling a little.)
Tip #2 – Schedule a few times leading up to New Year’s Day for quiet, intentional meditation. One of the sweetest joys during Christmas, for me, is just sitting on my sofa or at the table, sipping something warm, listening to a crackling fire or instrumental music and thinking. Just thinking. I heard someone the other day call this “super thinking.” Yes, you could certainly use this time to read Scripture or meditate on some favorite verses. But you could also:
- remember special Christmas memories
- practice gratitude and reflect on what you’re thankful for
- think about Mary and how she must have felt that first Christmas
- reflect on the gathering you attended the night before, the laughter and the sweet conversations
- highlights from this year in your family
- other ideas???
But the most important thing about this tip is that we actually schedule it. Put it on the calendar, carve out the time and make it happen.
Tip #3 – With someone or a group schedule and have one conversation that focuses completely on the meaning of Christmas. Depending on your circumstances and how you decide to carry it out, this tip could take a little bravery on your part. But I encourage you to intentionally enter into conversation with at least one other person – your spouse, a friend, your sister, etc. – or a group – your Bible study small group, your family, a group of girlfriends, etc. – that completely focuses on Christmas. You could approach the conversation from various angles. Pick one or more:
- discuss the narrative of the birth of Christ found in Luke 1-2
- talk about Mary and her experience as the mother of Jesus
- linger over memories of Christmases past
- share with one another how God has worked in your life this year
- talk about the names of Jesus prophesied in Isaiah 9:6
- other ideas???
Sure, someone else could schedule this and you could simply participate. If it works for you, your weekly Bible study meeting or Sunday school time could count. But just make sure you participate fully.
Let’s make sure that we fully engage in the true meaning of Christmas this year, ladies. Amidst the parties and concerts and lights and baking sessions, let’s pause and reflect and remember and engage. I’d love to hear how you do that. Please share!
Have a lovely weekend, dear gal!