Is anyone else just flat tired and even perhaps a little (or a lot) sad because Christmas is creating immense amounts of stress? I’m talking gargantuan sized stress. Are questions about presents, money, expectations, packing, traveling and/or preparing running constantly through your head? Does each day closer to “the day” create panic, at least in your head?
Each day, I spend a large portion of my time reading an Advent devotional and then creating, which is my favorite form of stress relief, around what I have learned. I know the reason for the season. I also spend time in my Bible filling my heart with His truths. I know that not one person is going to hold up against me if the present isn’t the right fit or if I screw up the broccoli casserole. I know that being close to those I love will be treasured time. Still, as evidenced by the fact that my phone autocorrected treasured to traumatic, there is this undeniable sense of unrest. No, don’t get all up in arms, my family is not filled with trauma – but autocorrect seemed to be sensing a theme in my writing, so I shared.
Tonight while obsessing over our Christmas lists trying to ensure that the presents we have purchased are the right ones (seriously how many versions of a gift can there be), that they are equal in size and price to everyone else you are buying for, and that they are well thought out and meaningful while also being what the person would want, I realized that I was creating my own stress.
Yes, media floods us with expectations and impossible scenarios. Yes, we want all the things to go as well as possible. Yes, when we look around and see what others are doing we feel pressure. There are many external forces that contribute to how we are feeling. However, we do not have to but into it. I don’t have to let it get to me. You don’t have to let it get to you. For reals, we can just say no. We can’t dodge every stressor, but we can choose to not let those stressors determine how we feel.
I know I am not the first to write about making holidays more simple. This is not an original idea. It is though, an idea I want to spread. What if we chose not to obsess over our lists? What it we chose to be grateful for every minute we spend with loved ones. When I say every minute I mean it. We do not know when there won’t be any more minutes so we need to be grateful for them all. I’m not saying we should all scrapbook the crazy, wacky, trash picking up, stuck in traffic, or burned food moments. I am saying – be glad for the moments and for the people. What if we chose to not compare our Christmas card/letter/picture with anyone else’s? What if we read the letters and just enjoyed them? What if thanked God for each person in the all the pictures?
I am asking because I don’t know. I haven’t tried it all yet. I did thoroughly enjoy the picture and fact sheet I got in the mail today. I did stop in the middle of a full on crisis mode as I was making a gift and choose to write instead of going completely berserk. It’s a start. I feel better. I feel more hopeful. I feel far more at peace. I’m pretty sure this not new, but definitely shareable, idea is a good one. What can you choose tonight or tomorrow that will bring you more peace and more hope?