Thursday, December 4, 2014

Would It Still Be Christmas?

As I blogged earlier this week, I have really been fighting the feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed this December. I am daily taking on my self-assumed expectations of what I want this holiday season to look like. In my quiet times I am begging God to keep my Christ in Christmas this year.

Besides working, parenting and ministering this week (you know, my normal, everyday activities), I've been trying to prep for Christmas - shopping for and buying gifts and decorating our home, etc. Despite feeling two weeks behind, God has been faithful to keep me focused on Him and not my notorious to-do lists.

As I've thought through things and tried to prayerfully approach my responsibilities one-at-a-time, I have found myself with the same question on repeat in my head:

"Would it still be Christmas if ________?"

Would it still be Christmas if we only put up one tree this year instead of two?
Would it still be Christmas if I don't put out all the Nativity scenes?
Would it still be Christmas if we don't track down the toy that she said she wanted?
Would it still be Christmas if I don't mail out Christmas cards, or put lights outside or hand make the girls' teachers' gifts?

Each time I ask myself the question, the Holy Spirit gently whispers, "yes" into my heart.

Jesus will still be celebrated in my heart and in our home no matter if any or all of these things happen or not. My husband and I have that decisively clear in our priorities. These items will not take precedent over the true meaning of the holiday.

If I allow all these things to be so distracting to me, what message am I sending to my daughters? I do not want them to experience me overwhelmed and stressed by these frivolous details that they miss what Christmas really is. If that were to happen, then Christ wouldn't be in Christmas for us.

Even if by some Christmas miracle all my unrealistic, Martha Stewart expectations are met but I have failed to keep Him first, then it would not be Christmas at all - not for us, not for me. Christmas is so much more than that. My daughters need to see through my actions and attitudes what Christmas is all about. By God's grace, this will happen in how I approach my crazy lists and voices in my own head.

Regardless of how I approach this holiday season, it will be Christmas. Jesus' incarnation, Immanuel's arrival will be marked and celebrated. It will still be Christmas. Praise Him - it will be Christmas.


Sara said...

I have so loved reading your posts. This has been the most simple year ever for our family. Very few gifts, not so many parties, and we haven't even really done advent "well". To be honest, I am happy about it all! I don't feel stressed and if nothing gets done and no gifts get bought I am ok with it! I too want to focus on the real reason for the season.

Lana said...

Tara, you are so right. I didn't put one decoration up this year. But of course I don't have children. We simply put too much time and effort in the commercial side and forget the real meaning of Christmas. Thanks for you insightful post.