The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35 (NLT)
A couple years ago, my mother gave me an ornament that read, God rest ye merry gentlemen . . . the women are too busy!
I keep that ornament up all year long by my desk. It makes me laugh because it’s so true!
As women, it seems that the joy of the holidays often falls on us to create. We are the glue that binds family together, purchases the perfect gifts and gets them wrapped, coordinates everyone’s activities, remembers church commitments, writes the Christmas cards, lights the candles, plans the meals, and the question is: when do we enjoy our silent nights?
We don’t want to remove anything from our to-do lists, and friends, that is okay. The tasks on our lists are there for a reason, and it’s certainly fine for them to stay. Often, keeping them means that the people we love will have a beautiful Christmas – even if it means we burn our candle at both ends to make it happen.
But sometimes, it’s simply too much.
In addition to the usual holiday festivities, one of my kids has a birthday in November, and another has a birthday in December. This adds two more major events to keep track of during an already full season. One recent year, my brain and task lists were over full, and it was just too much for me to think about sending Christmas cards.
Now, I’ve never missed a year of sending cards out. Even when I had both of those babies – one right before Thanksgiving and one right before Christmas – I managed to send out Christmas cards. Sure, they doubled as birth announcements and went out after Christmas, but hey, I got it done!
But that one year, everything just felt like too much, so I didn’t do cards — even though we had great things for a Christmas letter and we had new family pictures. And you know what? I didn’t even really miss them. I wasn’t upset or disappointed, and neither was anyone else. Taking the cards off my list freed up time, money, and brain space, and it was completely the best choice for me. Then the next year, I sent cards again. No big deal.
What do we need to take off our plates to let our hearts breathe?
When do we pause to enjoy this time of Advent? What must we loosen from our grasp so that we may instead grasp the hands that make Christmas what it is — a birthday celebration of the highest importance for a baby born holy? Is it the cards or the annual open house we host? Is it bringing two dozen homemade cookies to the preschool pageant or traveling out of state for the holidays?
Whatever your “it” is, it’s okay to break tradition in order to maintain your focus. It doesn’t mean you’ll never do “it” again; but that you can take a break if you need one!
Let’s only keep the things that matter most on the list, and let go of all the rest.
Lord, above all, we praise You. This is first and the best way to prioritize – to think on what brings You praise and glory. The rest can fall to the wayside. We love You first, Lord – help us loosen, so that we may grasp. Amen.
What, if anything, could you release from your list this year?
What little things will keep until after the holidays?
The Christmas season seems to get shorter and go faster each year. Make this year different by taking a moment for yourself and filling your heart for a season that is intentional and full of joy. A Moment of Christmas: 25 December Devotions for Moms by Anna E. Rendell will help you prepare your heart for Christmas with twenty-five days of devotions and Scripture readings, reflection questions, and extra moments — recipes, inspiring quotes, and time-saving tips. Toss this book into your diaper bag or purse, and let your heart be encouraged in the moments on even your busiest day. As you prepare your heart for Christmas by reading through these pages, you’ll be inspired to drop the pursuit of perfection and chase holy.
We love Advent, and Anna, and this book, and we want to help you welcome this season by giving away THREE Advent gift bundles! Leave a comment about one of your favorite Advent or Christmas traditions, and you’ll be entered to win a bundle that includes a copy of A Moment of Christmas and a Queen of Christmas t-shirt (from the Candace Cameron Bure line at DaySpring)!