Several years ago, the Christian band "Truth" did a parody of "Silent Night" that included the line, "Christmas is the time I hate the best!" For many people, that sentiment is too true to be funny. You know what I mean. As I write this, it's only December 1, but already our household calendar is covered with commitments for the month. We are battered and buried with ads for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. And every year when we get to about the middle of the month, we're saying to our spouses, "This is crazy! Holidays shouldn't be this stressful, and nobody should be this busy. Next year, let's do things differently!"
Well, THIS year is the NEXT year you talked about LAST year. So what are you going to do about it? I certainly don't have all the answers, but please allow me to offer a few thoughts that I intend to keep focused on this Christmas season.
Simplify. Seriously. Christmas to me seems to be a time when less is more - that is, don't over-schedule yourself, and don't feel like you have to put in an appearance at every event. My hunch is we will enjoy the events that we do go to more, if we're not constantly worrying about having to get to the next thing. That goes for decorating, too. The world will not come to an end if your neighbor has more lights on his house than you do.
Don't stress over stuff. How often we fret and fuss over getting the "perfect" gift for everyone on our list. Hey - it's just stuff. Most of us have too much of it as it is. Maybe rather than having a meltdown trying to be the gift genie, you could make a donation in that person's name to one of their favorite charities. If you like being in the kitchen, think about making a batch of cookies and giving everyone 2 or 3. That's enough to go along with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk, and nearly everyone likes homemade cookies!
Share. Yourself. Your time. Be open to others and let them be open with you.
And finally, to quote my pastor, David McQueen,
The main thing, is to keep the main thing, the main thing. What is the main thing for Christmas? Isn't it to rejoice in the great gift that God has given us when He sent His Son Jesus? So maybe we could spend more time worshiping and celebrating, and less time stressing over what to wear to the ugly sweater party. More time enjoying loved ones, and less going from store to store to save $1.98.
Maybe at the start of this Christmas season, we can determine to make this year one that we can look back at and say, "I love Christmas," and really mean it. "And God bless, every one."