Peace, joy, light, laughter, love, and rest–the definition of your holiday season–right? Oh, no? What about stress, busyness, heaviness, anxiety, exhaustion and dread? Does that more accurately describe it? The unfortunate reality is that the second set of words, the ugly set, that’s how so many people characterize their holiday season. Yeah, that late Thursday in November through the beginning of the new year, it’s all just a blurry mess.
But, let’s be really real–it’s your choice to live crazy. It’s up to you whether to enjoy a peaceful and light holiday season or crumble under the societal weight of more-more-more.
And so, if it’s peace that you’re seeking, turn off the ever-exaggerated, always-heartbreaking news, put away the magazines screaming about the latest Hollywood scandal. Find a pillow instead, brew a cup of something warm, and lay in the glow of your Christmas tree. Pray.
Joy is what you’re after? Buy something, make something, order something, write something (simple is fine, simple is best)–wrap it up pretty and give it to someone you love. Feel the spark of generosity that fuels a fire of joy in your soul as you watch a smile break into a big grin.
If you crave light, spend time with the One who is light, who came to earth among filthy animals so that you and I can live in freedom. Go to a local church, sit in the back row if you want. As you walk out the doors, leave your burdens behind, hand them off to our Jesus. All those weighty expectations? Drop them. All the things you could have done, should have done, need to do? Life isn’t an emergency, so lay them down. There’s no soul too pitch black, no burden too heavy for Jesus.
Laughter? You need some laughter? Find the children. Your own littles, the neighbor’s kids, the girl dressed in white tights and a red velvet dress, the toddler melting down in Target with his mama whispering I’m teeeeeelling Santa! Spend time with the children if you can, or at least notice them when they’re nearby. Throw your head back, and laugh. Laugh loud, and laugh long.
If you’re aching for love this season, look at the Christmas cards you’ve gotten in the mail–little families held together by love. Look at your own family, look at your friend-family, those brothers and sisters from a different bloodline. Appreciate them. Hug them tight. Stare at your reflection in the bathroom mirror, remind yourself I am enough–I’m good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. Loving the person who God created you to be will empower you to love the people around you for exactly who God created them to be.
And, rest. Ahh, rest. Perhaps the most difficult of all. Turn off the iPads and iPhones and iMacs and iDistractyouconstantlys. Turn off the TV. Graciously say no to holiday parties and events when you can. Then, spend time resting–whatever that looks like for you. I’ll turn on Christmas music and bake, because the music from the speaker and the rhythm of crack-mix-stir-scoop is energizing and restful to my soul. But that’s me–what’ll you do? Take a walk? Talk to an old friend? Sit alone in a coffee shop? Read a good book? Lay beneath the Christmas tree? Make a craft? Write a letter? Just close your eyes and breathe?
There’s somehow this expectation that the holidays will be crazy— they always have to be so, so crazy. But what if they weren’t? What if you rejected the idea that more is more and decided instead that less is more? How would that change your heart? Friends I’m praying for you, for us–may we find the peace, joy, light, laughter, love, and rest this holiday season–and ardently reject the crazy.