Friday, December 13, 2013

The Trappings of Christmas

It's been a week of ups and downs, downs and ups. How can it be that Christmas could evoke any emotion but joy? I blame it all on us humans. God didn't ask us to turn Christmas into a tree buying, light hanging, gift giving, stressful event, but we did.

Yet, here I sit, the smell of pine wafting through the air, the glow of lights on the tree and the fireplace warming my heart and my Christmas mug, pleasing to my sight. I can't deny that I enjoy some of the trappings of the "holiday". Most important to me, though is remembering what it's all about and as a Christian, it is about the birth of Christ.

I was reading in one of my devotional's this morning about the need to create margin in our lives. Most of us don't have time to be still and hear the voice of God. This is especially true at Christmas time, which just causes more stress. How true is that? The truth is, just thinking about the decorating, shopping and baking, or lack thereof, was causing most of my downs. Once I let go of all of that, I could enjoy things again. And somehow, things are still coming together.

In my devotional, there were seven pieces of advice that Rick Warren had on how to keep the stress and demands from overwhelming us. These were things he observed that Jesus did in his life. I thought I would share them here for the next week because just reading them this morning, gave me a sense of peace.

The one that touched me the most this morning was set clear goals. I am a great procrastinator to the point where sometimes I'm actually joke about how good I am at it. But the truth is, it adds to stress. As Rick Warren so aptly put it, "Preparation prevents pressure, but procrastination produces it". Wow! Did that ever make me want to be sure to get all my ducks in a row from now on.

I was reminded of the day a few years ago that I went to my brother and sister-in-law's early for their annual Christmas party. I was going to set up a photo booth for the party so I got there a little over an hour before the scheduled start time expecting to see the family rushing around with last minute to-dos. Instead, they were all in the family room kicking back and relaxing. It was refreshing and stress-free.

Obviously, there was a lot of planning and preparation that went into their party and by not procrastinating they were able to head into the event, relaxed and ready to enjoy their company. If we come to realize that even with preparation, something can't be done, perhaps that means we need to cut it from our list.

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