Over the next couple of weeks, I’d like to share with you some posts from the archives. I hope you enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed reading them again!
“Are you ready for Christmas?”
An innocent question asked by so many people just trying to make friendly conversation. I know they’re really asking if the shopping, baking, and wrapping are done. But each time I hear the question, it just grates my nerves. I’m pretty sure that makes me an awful person.
Because truthfully NO…. I’m NOT ready for Christmas. Even if our shopping was completely done (which it isn’t), I still wouldn’t be ready for Christmas. I’m in no way emotionally, mentally, or spiritually ready for the birth of the newborn King. I’m stressed. I’m grumpy. I’m having a bad week. While I’ve been trying to slow down and soak in Christmas, life around me hasn’t been cooperating. And I’m guessing I’m not alone.
So how can we ‘get ready for Christmas’?
I’ve been thinking about this all week. It seems like the more important something is and the more intentional we’re trying to be, the more resistance there is. Just recognizing that and being prepared for it helps me.
Here are a few other things that I’ve found helpful when things aren’t going quite the way I thought they would.
Realize that one bad/tense/stressful moment (or even a few moments) does not define the day.
I’m kind of an all-or-nothing kinda gal. When something goes wrong during my day, especially when it’s a day where we’ve planned something special, I go all Eeyore and start thinking the whole day is a wash. But it’s not. Moments can be dealt with, and special activities can be salvaged. So whether it’s a meltdown at the mall, an argument at home, or the dog eating someone’s gift, it’s just a moment.
Vent to a friend and then be done.
The other day, my sweet friend Amy was kind enough to allow me a venting session on Skype. She listened, empathized, and reminded me that it’s not just me. We all go through stressful spots during the holiday season. She reminded me that I wasn’t alone or weird or crazy. She sent a virtual hug and made me smile. That went a long way to calming my frustration and made me a nicer person to deal with for the rest of the day.
If you’re feeling stressed, being able to confide that in a trusted friend is priceless. Then, having lightened the load by sharing it, you can walk way and move forward with the day. And I’m guessing that the time will come when you can be the friend who’s lending the ear and lightening someone else’s load.
Grab some YOU time.
not so good horrible at this, especially when things get busy around the holidays. I’m so focused on the family activities we have planned that I don’t even think about what I want/need to do for myself. As moms, we’re probably all guilty of this one. Fortunately, my friend Beth gently reminded me that we had talked about setting aside some time to get together before Christmas. Instead of listing off all the oh-I-should-be-doings, I said YES. It gave me something to look forward to, something that was just for me.
Maybe your YOU time is meeting a friend for coffee. Maybe it’s hiding away at the library or a bookstore with a new novel. Maybe it’s just a long soak in a hot bath. Whatever it is, take a few minutes this week and do a little something just for you.
Spend some time relaxing with the King.
Finding some quiet space is always hard, but that struggle is amplified this time of year. The other night I sat in the living room with the lights off, the only light coming from the Christmas tree. I wasn’t deep in prayer. I wasn’t singing hymns. I was just sitting there, occasionally mentioning something to God, soaking in His presence. It wasn’t formal or planned or deep. But it was restful and just what I needed.
See if you can sneak in some quiet time this week, even if it’s just 10 minutes after the kids are in bed. It’s amazing what a few minutes of quiet can do for your heart.
So now let’s go and get ready for Christmas. Maybe the next time someone asks the question, we can all answer with a resounding YES!