I love Christmas. I love the smells, the decorations, the cooking, the presents, going to church on Christmas Eve. I love it all! But what is it about this time of year that leave me so STRESSED?! The season is rushing by and so far I'm not enjoying it very much. The busyness, the money spent, cranky kids, cranky me, I'm almost wishing it were all over with and things could go back to normal.
But as I sit and wonder where my Christmas spirit has gone and if I can get it back before it's too late. I sense God telling me to slow down and just be still. It doesn't have to be perfect, I'm the only one with that expectation. Everything doesn't have to get done at one time, and so what if the house isn't spotless? And if my Christmas card pictures are going to be less than stellar, or that I haven't even done them yet, so what? I feel like the Grinch that stole Christmas.
I like to get up early and have quiet time with my bible and journal. It helps clear out the clutter and prepare me emotionally for the day. It was in this time one morning last week that I saw clearly how my attitude was affecting not only me but those around me.
I was sorry for my pride, perfectionism, unrealistic expectations, and selfishness. Sorry for not looking beyond my wants and seeing those in real need due to loss of a loved one, sickness, or a family that is struggling. I am humbled. As the tears fall, I let it all go and give it my Father. I stop striving. enough.
Jesus came to give us peace and love, what better way for me to show that to those around me, then for me to be at peace and to love them well.
Be still, slow down, and breathe. Take in each day as it comes, enjoy and savor it. For we are not promised tomorrow. I am reminded of 3 families in my own community that have recently lost loved ones, children. I then promise myself to stop taking my time for granted to embrace each day and live fully. These families would give anything for one more day with their child, I don't want to take anymore days with my kids for granted. I want to make happy memories and traditions with them. And when I'm relaxed and calm so are they. I thank God again for opening my eyes and reminding me of the real reason of the season, and for again being patient and loving with me. I know I can be stubborn.
I know there is a lot of hurting and sadness going on in the world right now, will join me in praying and lifting up families in our own communities that are hurting. Our prayers make a difference. And maybe God will lay someone on our hearts to reach out to and be the hands of Jesus to them this Christmas season. I can't think of any better gift. Merry Christmas!!