Simple Joy

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love everything about it! The music, the lights, the smells, the MOVIES! Over the past few years I have been wondering why exactly it takes longer and longer for it to “feel” like Christmas to me? I keep waiting to feel that spark ignite, but it’s not what it used to be. It seems to have lost its wonderment and excitement as I became an adult.

Christmas as an adult looks much like this:

  • Decorating
  • Shopping
  • Not blowing the budget
  • Baking/Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Parties/Family Gatherings
  • Christmas Cards
  • Volunteering
  • Church Events
  • Kids
  • Trying to keep all the “traditions” alive
  • Remembering to move that stinking ELF every single night!

You know, the stuff that causes STRESS. These are not bad things at all, but there’s just so much of it! Every year I tell myself that I will do less, plan better, budget better and not procrastinate. It never seems to happen. I find myself year after year running non-stop until we finally get home on Christmas night and tuck the kids in. Can I get an AMEN?

I was amazed watching my daughter spend literally hours cutting out paper snowflakes the other day. She was so thrilled and excited with the “blizzard” she created to decorate her room with. When I look back on the things that made Christmas memories for me as a kid, it wasn’t in the perfection. It was in drinking hot cocoa and watching a Christmas movie as a family. The first sound of Christmas carols playing on the radio. Taking an extra-long drive home to see the lights. The smell of the Christmas tree farm as we cut down our tree. My dad screaming at the tangled lights every year. Baking cookies with my mom. Fighting with my sister over the hidden German pickle ornament on the tree to get an extra present. Going to church on Christmas Eve. Putting on a nativity play with my cousins. Eating way too many sweets at family parties. These are the things that made Christmas full of wonder and charm when I was a kid. I think that’s why kids truly find joy in this season, because they experience it instead of putting it on.

Do you find yourself spending so much time making sure that others enjoy their holiday that there is no joy left for you? We need to let the perfection go and focus on the things that matter. The commercialism and consumerism is just that-it consumes you. Christmas is a time to worship our Savior. To spend time with those you love and bless those who need it. The other things are wonderful, but if we want to experience joy this Christmas, let’s take off our Martha shoes and sit at the feet of Jesus.

Think of this old acronym J.O.Y. this Christmas season when you start to feel frazzled:

J- Jesus Take time to be with Him and thank God for the wonderful gift of His Son.

O- Others The greatest thing you can do is to spend time with those you love and bless       someone who is in need (whether it be physically, spiritually or emotionally).

Y- Yourself Take time to be still and be present. The dishes can wait!

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11 (ESV)

What are some ways that help YOU to manage the stress of the holiday season? What helps you to refocus on what really matters and experience joy?

Love,

Diane

diane-haupt

Diane Haupt is a stay-at-home wife and mother and serves on the board of directors for The Connection. She is a fellow sinner saved by the grace of God and is an active member of LCBC Church in Waynesboro, PA where she serves on the worship team. She has a passionate desire given by the Holy Spirit to mentor and disciple other women.  You can email her at connectingwomenwithgod@gmail.com.

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