Relishing the Christmas Season
How did Christmas get here so fast? I think we hear this every year, without fail, right? And perhaps every year we say it will be different. Less stressful. We will be more in the moment than the year before. We will keep the main thing the main thing. But let’s be real. Relishing the Christmas season will not just happen. It must be chosen. And that might mean that we need to let go of some things that have actually kept us from the peace and joy that we can have in this season.
I love the word, “relishing”. I am not a fan of relish, to be clear, but relishing has this component of delight and being given over to the enjoyment of something. Sometimes we can be given over to the status quo and traditions and not really celebrate or relish the moments in front of us. Christmas does not have to be hustle and bustle. Here are some tips to encourage you to devotion, not commotion this season.
Relishing the Christmas Season: Revamping Traditions
Just because you have done things a certain way every year does not mean that has to continue forever. Sure, keep the traditions you cherish, but maybe they can be revamped or simplified so you are not a slave to your traditions. And maybe those traditions can actually serve to refresh you rather than drain you.
Here is an example from the pages of my life:
- Tradition #1: Christmas shopping like a madwoman or connect with the people we are buying gifts for.
We have a new tradition with Christmas shopping last year and this year. And I LOVE it! I had my kids create Amazon lists, then share the link with me. Then I go away with my three daughters for a night where we simply connect and maybe visit a store or two. I like to take them to get some basics that they might not want to unwrap in front of everyone. 😉
So instead of just wringing my hands and hoping I get gifts that my people want, the Amazon links are clear. So in a matter of minutes, I can order for everyone. I also have all of the links on one page that I send to the family so everyone knows what everyone needs.
And instead of spending hours shopping in crowded stores, I basked in the presence of my daughters. PRICELESS.
Relishing the Christmas Season: Revitalizing Celebrations
I think sometimes in the past I tacked on “the real” part of Christmas out of guilt. We needed to do all the things, read the Christmas story, bake the cookies that cause us to gain weight and have sugar spikes, buy the cards, etc.
I don’t know about you, but this does not feel so celebratory when it becomes rote. I realize. that I am treading on hollow ground . . . sacred cows are real when it comes to messing with traditions. Here is an example from the pages of my life again.
- Tradition #2: Celebrate the way you always have or consider what you are doing and revitalize your plans!
When my children were little, we used to go to every neighbor’s house with cookies in a wagon and my children holding violins, guitars, whatever instrument we could. I actually entertained doing that again but then realized it would be a solo this year and did not think my neighbors would appreciate that, lol. The empty nest syndrome makes reflecting on traditions painful. Does anyone relate?
So I realized I needed to change my expectations and choose to do things appropriate for this season. We live in a temporary world. And when we try to maintain traditions that are no longer fitting to our situation, we can be focused on the wrong thing.
Some of my children will not be celebrating Christmas with me for the first time. I can stay focused on this lack, or relish in what I do have. It seems that trying to do things the way I always have was stealing my joy. So instead of entertaining caroling to neighbors and lamenting days gone by, I decided to stop thinking I had to be a slave to any former ways of celebration and adopted some new ones. Purchasing gifts for the Angel Tree ministry brought me a lot of joy, for instance. And considering who might need some encouragement this year.
Relishing the Christmas Season: Reveling in Christ’s Love
I know this sounds like the Sunday school answer, but truly, are we reveling in the love that God displayed for us? It takes time to do so. It requires intentionality. And perhaps even looking afresh at the story of God’s redemption for all of mankind in His word. It’s ok to not have everything perfect for our commemoration of our Savior’s birth. Don’t miss Jesus in the busyness that this season can often bring.
- Tradition #3: Attend a lot of events to bring cheer, or bring cheer to the few events you choose.
Every new year I try to do a get-together where we worship God and ask God to lead us in the coming year. I realized that Christmas had at times become a “to do” list instead of simply worshiping Jesus. So I am seeking to bring worship into each event or gathering I choose to attend. This is what those who first encountered Christ did, too.
Merry Christmas, friends. Savor the moments leading up to Christmas. Choose how you will celebrate rather than just doing the things.
Getting into God’s word is not just a good girl or guy thing to do. It is our very life and gives meaning to our lives! Don’t miss Jesus in the upcoming year. Join me in the Bible Tribe adventure: The Bible Tribe: Word of the Day version.
Exciting things are underway for this next year. In my PhD classes in Biblical Exposition at Liberty University, I have been enjoying understanding God’s word on a whole new level and I want to bring that understanding to you in a way that is fresh, fun, and fulfilling.
This year, the Bible Tribe had a YouTube devotional as well as a podcast, focusing on one key verse within the reading for the day on my 7-fold Bible reading plan. I also would highlight a key word.
But next year I will be doing a Word of the Day, where we study one word each day in the context of a verse and book of the Bible, then across all of Scripture. My hope is that you can carry that word throughout your day and that it will help you to apply God’s word to your life in a powerful new, rich way!
I am so excited to say that a new hardcover version is available on Amazon and a soft cover is in review now, hopefully available next week. There is also a kindle version available. Click the pictures below for more information.
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