From My Heart

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 -NIV

Learn from the past- Keep it simple

Think about Christmas past. No, I’m not the ghost from A Christmas Carol. I am just prompting you pause and consider. Remembering moments from past Christmases will help you decide what is most important to you. What was it about that Christmas that was so special?

To some Christmas is that beautiful warm feeling of “no place like home for the holidays”. The smell of baking and the gathering of family is what it is all about.

Others love the Christmas season and what it stands for, but get blinded by beautiful lights and the expectation of gifts.

I’m sure that as you are reading this your mind has gone back through years and brought up many memories some good and others not so good. But what is the most special in your heart?

During this season you see people everywhere, fighting the traffic and the crowds to get just the perfect gift. There are some who live for gift giving and others who would rather do anything else but they are shopping out of obligation.

Then there are the expectations of others. As women we wrestle with expectations of others often. That brings on the stress of trying to be all things to all the people.
There is quest being the best hostess, attending all the functions, the beautifully decorated home, preparing the perfect meal that looks like it could be a picture out of a cooking magazine. It’s all too much!

I’ve tried to make a true effort to keep things simple so we don’t miss Christmas or lose sight of why we as Christians acknowledge it. As I think about gifts I consider each person and what is truly important to them. Shopping is done bit by bit throughout the year and without putting our bank account in the red. Decorations are simple and meaningful. And I am more intentional about my involvement in each activity.

Here are a few suggestions that come to mind regarding keeping Christmas simple.

Establish boundaries: Schedule days to enjoy as a family. Don’t allow the expectations of others encroach on your family. This must be done intentionally or it just won’t happen.

Ask am I the one who should: Are you the one who should host, plan, play, cook, etc. Or are you doing it because others expect you to?

Many years ago I went through a study by Elizabeth George that offered some wonderful advice about making decisions. I am paraphrasing here but it went something like this.
When you are asked to take on yet another project first pray and ask God for guidance. Still not sure, ask your husband’s council.
Still no answer then make 4 columns with these headings, Why should I, Why shouldn’t I…..Why would I…..Why wouldn’t I.
Begin truthfully responding to each questing. Your true motives will be revealed. I’ve use this process many times and it works well. You will soon get past all the static of others expectations and emotions that are clouding your judgement to the root of your motives. Then you will see what how God would have you use your time and energy.

I pray you all have a very peaceful and meaningful Christmas. May you all be blessed by the simple yet wonderful things that happen this time of year.

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