As I sit here writing this, I am preoccupied with a list of things I need to make happen by 6 pm tonight. One task is not Christmas cookies. I made those yesterday but, I'll spare you the rest of the details because thinking about it is making me a bit anxious. This post is going to be self-indulgent because I need this advice most, but my heart tells me, you may too. I am going to wrap up (no pun intended, but yes, that is on aforementioned to-do list) our Christmas season by going back to what I started blogging about on Nov 5th, perfectionism.
This time of year is busy. Hurried. Rushed. Anxiety ridden. Expensive. Calorie induced. It's crazy how we fill our calendars, our bellies, our guest rooms, our stockings and our credit cards with more debt while running around trying to "get it all done". And for what? What are we actually trying to make happen? I see friends, family and colleagues, um... myself, filling their need to be perceived as perfect, organized, having it all together, versions of Martha Stewart. The perfectly wrapped presents, the perfectly decorated house, the perfectly imaged Instagram feed, the perfectly cooked meal, the perfectly packed holiday schedule. I am perfectly exhausted and perfect devoid of Martha's staff. Puhlease.
But friends, here is what I truly feel that I may have perfectly realized through the years that I am going to share with you.
If the house isn't perfectly clean, it's still christmas.
If the gifts aren't perfectly wrapped, it's still christmas.
If the meal gets perfectly burnt, it's still christmas.
If you get perfectly frustrated by family, it's still christmas.
If you perfectly opt out of the parties, it's still christmas.
And if the to-do list is perfectly not all done, it's still christmas.
If what your heart is consumed by this holiday isn't about Jesus, that's not christmas.
I have learned that in order to receive the gift of our Heavenly Father giving his one and only son and ultimately himself, that your head and your heart have to make three things:
If your head and your heart are consumed by wordly perceptions of christmas, make room.
Jesus doesn't need a mansion, he was born in a city with no room and a tiny manger for his bed. Hear my heart - i believe part of all the stress, busyness and preparations of the holiday can be joyful at the same time. I love the task of wrapping all my children's gifts to look as if they could be showcased in a House Beautiful spread, each year a different theme. But if I don't also wrap my heart in the why and what I am are celebrating, there's no room for the kind of joy Jesus came to bring. You have to make sure you make room, for Him.
If your heard and your heart are consumed by stress and anxiety, make peace.
Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. If all of the activity that surrounds your christmas preparations is stressful, you are not living in some of the greatest promises Jesus came to fulfill and teach. He promised us rest. We know Jesus was stressed, I wrote about how he handled it here. When the apostles would greet each other in the openings of their letters to the early church, many times we read "may peace be with you". Peace is a person, not a concept. Jesus is peace. May Jesus be with you, as he was born to do.
If your head and your heart are consumed by a jam packed schedule, make time.
Jesus frequently made time to go to weddings, get away to be alone and for fun (Matthew 11:19). He had the biggest schedule and job ever known to man. And he accomplished it all in three years. If you are glorifying a busy calendar, you're doing it wrong. Stop glorifying being busy as if it makes you more important, more successful, more worthy or better than others. The only thing it makes you more of is unhealthy, lonely and a participant of a self-guided ego trip. Make this time with family and friends about memories and joy filled days that leaves you longing for christmas all year round because you had a blast this christmas.
And that leaves me with one more thing I have to make at christmas, gratefulness.
I am honored you read my words.
I am humbled you share them with your family and friends and
I am beyond grateful that God uses this community to ultimately build his kingdom and his people into brave, courageous followers of Christ.
As you celebrate Immanuel, God with us this week, may He fill your empty places, may He be with you and may He joyfully bless you this Christmas and beyond. Ok, I just crossed that off my list. Merry Christmas sweet friends.