Conquering the chaos of Christmastime sounds like an oxymoron but you’re going to love this bit of wisdom from Heather Bock. She is a gracious friend and fellow blogger. We had the privilege of connecting online and meeting in person this past fall at a writer’s conference. She is passionate about Jesus and the Word of God, a champion for others, an intentional wife/mom/friend, and phenomenal encourager. I know you’ll be blessed by her words this Christmas Season as she encourages us to conquer the chaos of Christmastime. (to connect with Heather I’ve included her links in the intro)
Three Steps to Conquer the Chaos of Christmastime
I am very busy.
I homeschool three young children, teach at my homeschool community once a week, help lead a community group at church with my husband, teach adult ESL three nights a week not including meetings and required trainings, write one to two posts a week for my blog, review one book a month, read another book a month for my book club, and on top of all that, I’m learning Spanish.
Your activities might be different, but I bet a lot of you are busy, too. We Americans, particularly in my generation or younger, tend to be overly busy. Most of us don’t leave a lot of room in the margins.
Is it any surprise then, that when the month of December rolls around, that all the expectations that come along with it (think Christmas cards, parties, baking, wrapping, shopping, etc., etc.) not only fill our slim margins, but spill over into the surrounding pages? Are you picturing your calendar right now?
If you have kids, it may be even worse, especially as you read sweet blog posts about how to make Christmas more meaningful to your kids. Anybody else start hyperventilating when you see ideas for daily Christmas activities with your children? I’ve seen activities that involve making homemade ornaments, filling cups of hot cocoa and driving around the neighborhood looking at lights, and bake and decorate a gingerbread house. These are all nice, and I’ve done all but the driving around with hot, sloshing mugs of staining chocolate (maybe I just need to invest in five thermoses), but one of these big projects every day? I have a feeling that my bad attitude caused by the stress of it all is what the kids would remember—not the kind of memories I want to be making.
What’s my advice, then?
First, go to God for help.
Every morning, go to God, asking Him for help to be diligent enough to finish what you need to finish and to be able to let go of all else. As you face your workload, instead of stressing about it, turn to God for help. He can carry the load. I have been surprised as I’ve done this at how much I can get done with Him. I also find that some items on my checklist aren’t as important as I thought they were when I wrote them.
Second, trust God by praising Him.
When we worry about all we need to accomplish, where does it get us? Nowhere! I love what Jesus said about this: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Lk. 12:25, NIV). We worry because we don’t have enough time to do all we want or need to do, but all that stress doesn’t give us a single moment more than we had before. In fact, it might even slow us down.
Instead, put on Christmas carols if it makes you feel worshipful. If not, put on other worship music or just sit and write a list of all the big and tiny things for which you are thankful. As you praise God, I hope you remember that He is worthy of not only our praise, but our trust, as well. I like what Ann Voskamp wrote in her book The Greatest Gift: “Worry is belief gone wrong. Because you don’t believe that God will get it right” (p. 60). She also wrote in the same book: “The answer to deep anxiety is the deep adoration of God” (p. 14).
I have found that when I truly put my heart into worshipping God, I can trust Him with all that worries me.
Third, choose some and drop others.
I’ve read that family traditions build strong families, so I’m all for doing activities together. However, I say, prayerfully pick a few traditions that you want to do with your kids each year—ones that are meaningful to your family, including some that focus on the reason for Christmas in the first place—and drop all the rest. I mean really drop them—drop them from your mind, too. Don’t be afraid of missing out on something some other beautiful family is doing and posting on Facebook. Your family is not that family.
I hope that these three steps will help you live out the Christmas season with less stress and more intentionality, including the intention of setting your heart to worship Jesus, the reason we celebrate Christmas at all.