I can feel the angst building every November. The holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s makes me unbelievably happy, but there’s something that happens right in the middle — right around Christmas.
Thanksgiving is simple and wonderful.
New Year’s is just — so — new. I love the freshness January 1st brings even though it’s really just another day.
I adore Christmas too, but if I let it, December can leave me feeling unfinished, unworthy, and unprepared.
What if I don’t focus on the right things in myself and for my kids this Christmas season?
What if my plans to do some fun crafts or bake some cookies to share with neighbors and friends bomb again this year? My aims are always much higher than my reality.
What if I can’t find anything fun to give my children?
I finally have a mantle in this new house, how do I capture some simple beauty up there instead of it looking like Macy’s came in and left behind a gaudy, glittery explosion?
And what about Advent? I’d really like to be committed to intentionally walking through Advent this year with my family. Not the pieced-together attempts at keeping up a daily reading plan like in the past.
What if I get it all wrong? What if it’s not meaningful at all and all my kids see is materialism and the ugly side of Christmas in our culture?
I know what you’re thinking — “Amanda. Goodness, just rest your mind and relax. Jesus doesn’t need your Christmas mantle and your forced Advent readings.”
I know those things. You know those things. But don’t we still let our thoughts go there anyways?
It’s super easy to point out wayward thinking in someone else. But don’t we all let our thoughts wander into the faulty December mindset that says we’re somehow unfinished, unworthy, and unprepared?
I truly do want to relax and take in the season and keep my heart in a healthy place. I want to love and honor Jesus with my family. Nothing more.
I’m guessing that’s your heart as well. I know for sure that stressing about my house or the gifts or reading through some book that isn’t required of me will not help.
The freeing thought is this: nothing is required of me. None of it is a requirement to honor the coming of Jesus. All Jesus wants is our hearts and our open-handed devotion.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how to commemorate Christmas on purpose, lest we turn it into a mindless ritual like everything else.
There is no checklist. The Bible tells us how to live, and it’s the same on Christmas Day as it is in the middle of an ordinary summer day.
Love Him, love people. Share the good news of the gospel.
What truly brings joy in this season without a hint of angst or stress? Do those things.
If it’s making cookies and delivering them around. Do that. But if getting messy in the kitchen with your kids gives you hives and makes you want to yell at everybody? Leave that out.
What honors the coming of Jesus? Do that.
Jesus doesn’t need our Christmas mantles, He simply wants us.
This article originally appeared at The Masterpiece Mom.