What has been up? How are you? It’s December! Can you believe it? Do you have your Christmas photos printed and cards mailed off already? Have you finished your Christmas shopping? Did you find the ugly sweater for the traditional contest?
I think I’m going to recycle photos from last year’s photo shoot for the Christmas card this year since we haven’t shared them all. I have no clue when I’m going Christmas shopping. Maybe Saturday. I have clothes to wear to the four Christmas parties I’ll be attending, but a very small selection of matching shoes since all of my boots have begun to break and tear this year, and I am not complaining-about any of it. This is real life.
I love this season because it’s the moments of joy I discover when I slow down that remind me to breathe. As much as we are led to believe this season is about stuff, it’s truly about gratitude and generosity. This week has been stressful as I attempt to publish my first book on my own imprint, balance my obligations at church, spend time with my family, and prepare to host friends for the holidays. I haven’t seen a gym in days and my prayer time has been slacking. Nonetheless, I’ve learned a lot in all of it.
When we redirect the demands for our attention and money, which are so prevalent during this time of year to what really matters, we experience incredible freedom! What really matters is our time with family, not how many presents sit under the tree. What really matters is experiencing peace in God’s presence, not running from event to event among church people. What really matters is rest as we reflect back over the year with gratitude, not adding to the list so much that we are exhausted in January. It’s not going to be easy to take back your time, attention, and money, but when we choose to do so it’s worth it!
Let the pressure go. It’s unnecessary. There’s no point in all of the festivities you’ve planned, food you’ve prepared, or presents you’ve bought if you’re not at your best to enjoy all of it. Begin to practice pausing to breathe in the moments of gratitude, peace, and joy which are so noticeable in this season when we slow down. It’s going to require you to put down your phone, walk away from the emails, and become intentional about it. I’m committed to it, and I’d like to invite you to join me. I refuse to allow pressure to steal my peace. It’s out of place so let’s choose to redirect all of the demands for our attention to those things that really matter: family, friendships, salvation, gratitude, reflection. It’s time to take ownership of our joy, our gratitude, our reflection, instead of leaving it in the hands of the department stores and promotional sales. Let’s take a deep breath and plan to release the pressure.