After the holidays are over, I always vow to do it better next year.
Somehow I assume I will one day figure out how not to eat too much, spend too much, consume too much, and just about everything too much. Yet come January I still feel like the "too muches" won again. Can I get an amen?
Last year I wrote myself a letter with kind reminders for the holidays. Sort of like my best self writing to my current self. As I'm staring down the holidays, I share them here in hopes they are true for me, and for you too this season.
Here are a few kind reminders of good things to remember this season.
1. Pray it up, sister.
I know this feels obvious, but the first gift of Christmas is your invitation to pause and pray over all the plans, preparations, and celebrations. Pray to release all the expectations and rest in what is. Pray that you can hold this one season in your hands and use it as an opportunity to love those on your path.
No matter who is at the table, no matter how many presents are under the tree, or what culinary wonders happen, I pray for Emmanuel to be true in me today - that I celebrate God with us.
2. Take care of yourself like a well-adored child.
I know you love all the Gratitude Cookie Exchanges, Holiday Concerts, and Sparkly Christmas Parties, but when the calendar gets full, your health suffers. This season let's safeguard taking care of ourselves like an adored child. Let's go to bed when we are tired. Let's eat with intention and love. Let's move, walk, and exercise as an act of worship. Let's hold sacred the time to take care of ourselves like it's a doctor's appointment.
No matter how full my calendar gets, I'll honor caring for myself as a sacred act of praise.
3. Go ahead and laugh. Rinse. Repeat.
There is plenty to be sad about in this world right now. There will always be brokenness. But even though the world is a bit of a dumpster fire, you can still find joy in your corner of it. You can watch a funny movie (Elf!), you can cook something ridiculous (piles of sausage balls!), you can crank the Christmas music and carols and goof around. Permission to not take yourself so seriously and find the fun.
No matter how much sadness is in the world, I can still find joy anyway.
4. Take it down a notch.
The temptation is always to do one more thing. One more gift, one more fun activity, one more holiday project, one more anything. When the desire to do more, be more, have more, buy more, eat more, consume more comes, just stop. Enjoy the free space to breathe and allow a bit of room in your life. There is wonder in the nothing too.
When the mores come, stop and choose less.
What About You? What Kind Reminder Does Your Heart Need?
When I start to feel guilty about what Christmas is or isn't, I have to remind myself that we are all doing the very best we can. All of us are carrying something. But by choosing to pray, rest well, laugh more, and simplify things, we create the best chance for margin in our lives. We give ourselves the gift of space to make room for the joy the season brings. Isn't that what Christmas was made for?
By honoring how we are made, we make room for the sacred in our hearts so we can celebrate the most sacred gift of all - Christ.