Tis the season, friends. December is upon us.
If you’re world is anything like mine, you may have taken a quick peek at your calendar and found yourself a taddddd bit overwhelmed with all of the decorating and all of the parties and all of the gifts for the teachers and the friends and the kiddos and the families, and the festive performances and cookie exchanges and church services and making time to watch all your favorite holiday movies and do all of your favorite holiday traditions. At my house, there are also things like keeping up with Twink, our Elf on the Shelf who’s around to ensure that the five year old has tip-top behavior because Mommy’s taking the month off and letting Santa deal with the shenanigans.
Some mornings, I jolt awake with anxiety about my to-do list compared to the number of hours in the day. I think and overthink and plan and over plan what needs to be done, only to feel like the proverbial water is rising, and instead of getting closer to shore, I’m barely able to catch my breath before the next wave crashes on my head. But then, ironically, I spend the day and the season wishing things like peace and joy onto others.
What about peace for me? What about peace for you? What if there is a trick to the season that has nothing to do with making and keeping and checking all of the lists. What if there is a way for us to have some of the peace we eagerly wish upon those around us?
At my house, we celebrate Christmas. So for us, all of this hoopla throughout the month of December is because we think it’s pretty fantastic that a holy God chose to show us how much we are loved by sending a baby boy named Jesus into the world so that we can live with hope and in peace. We celebrate Jesus being born, a royal birthday party, if you will, on Christmas Day.
But the preparation for Christmas requires all of the things throughout the month, and here’s what I’ve learned. It isn’t ever going to just magically not be a high-stress month. It’s just not. The kids want presents. The parties are fun. The cookies must be baked. The traditions must continue.
So instead of trying to wish them away (not to be all Grinch-y), but also not allowing the entire month to crash on my head like big ocean wave, I’ve changed my perspective and my approach just a bit.
I decorate my tree one strand of lights, one ornament, on bow at a time…with Christmas music turned up loud and hot cocoa in hand. I shop for gifts one at a time. I make my list and check it twice, but as best as I can to stay present in each party or performance with the people who are with me.
My goal isn’t any more about how much I can get done this month, but rather, about how peaceful I remain each day. Because when I’m peaceful, I notice the wonder on my daughter’s face when she looks at the sparking lights. I am humbled by the grace and the gift and the perfectly orchestrated plan of a most Holy God and overwhelmed with the story of a baby born in a manger who would go on to change the world. I find joy in friendships and conversations at holiday gatherings. I savor and enjoy the food that I’m eating. I stand in awe of the miracle of the season and forget all about making a list and checking it twice. And it’s in that place that I find myself grateful for the abundance in my life. Grateful for the people in my village. And grateful for the season.
Wishing you peaceful moments this month, friends.