Friday, December 16, 2011

Holding up under Holiday Crunch?

I have a confession to make. I can’t wait for December to be over!  Whew! I said it. Is that a terrible thing to say or what?

I’m carrying around a mile long Christmas to-do list in my mind. I haven’t organized myself enough to sit and write it down, but it looks like getting ready for Christmas could be a full time job.

Together with two other families, we will host a Christmas celebration on December 25th in our home for Chrstn and Mslm friends. We plan to have food, games, and a short Christmas program of carols, a dramatic reading of the Christmas story, and a brief message. This week my husband and I will deliver invitations to friends, a team mate and I will meet to finish planning the celebration, my son and I will rehearse music, and our family will prepare an enactment of the Christmas story! Of course I can’t forget shopping and food preparation.  Sound familiar to any of you out there?

I’m excited and joyful over this opportunity to serve, but I’m also hoping I won’t be stressed out over having 30-40 people in my living room. And I don't want to be so busy taking advantage of Christmas as an opportunity to share Christ that I neglect to celebrate it with my own family and make it special for them.  
We will have family Christmas dinner with a few friends the evening of the 24th.  I’m crossing my fingers and praying I’ll be able to relax and enjoy our family time without thinking too much of the party the following day.

As I write this, I wonder, “Am I crazy? Whose idea was this???” So I take a deep breath and remind myself of the following:

1. Keep the first thing the first thing.

My relationship with Jesus is the most important priority of my life, and I don’t want to be so busy celebrating his birth that I forget to focus on simply walking with him day by day.  He brings joy to my heart when I read his word every morning or stop for a moment to remember him during the day.

2. Keep it simple

I want to keep life as simple as I can.  Simple Christmas dinner for my family. Simple snacks at our party. No extra commitments this week because I already have enough to do.

3. Breathe deep and take a break.

I have to remind myself not to keep going all the time.  A friend told me the other day, “I just have to make myself stop!” I could relate. Regular breaks keep me refreshed and energized.  I picked up a new book, and once again I’m enjoying reading before bed and in snatched moments during the day.

4. Remember why I’m here.

Jesus is the reason I’m here.  He’s the reason I would do something as insane as have a big party on Christmas Day and invite Mslms.  He’s the reason I’ve spent 10 years with my family sowing seed on hard ground, believing God for a great harvest we cannot yet see. 

5. Consider it all joy.

I want to serve Him joyfully, not begrudgingly.  I long to live a life of worship this week, the Romans 12:1 kind, where we offer ourselves as living sacrifices.

Can any of you relate to the December crunch?  How are you holding up?



Linda said...

Hi, Olive Tree, I'll be praying for you during this busy time. My heart kinda lurched when I read your comment over at the WOTH blog, the one with the prayer for women serving like you do. So I sense God calling me to pray for you during this busy, busy season. You are on the cutting edge. Thank you for modeling faith and commitment and serving to the rest of us.


us5 said...

:raising my hand: yes, i can relate! except our Christmas party of 40 was last night (and they were all over our house!), and my body is exhausted, but i'm breathing a sigh of relief. it's done. like you, i want to serve joyfully, but i too often get entangled by the details and forget to stop and treasure what God is doing in this moment. these are great reminders, thank you. i'll be praying for you in the days ahead, and especially on Christmas Day...

OliveTree said...

Linda, thanks for the prayer. It means a lot to me. Thank you, friend.

Earthen vessel, I'm glad your party is over! That is a great reminder about treasuring God in the moment. I'll keep that in mind this week as I prepare for my party.

Kris Thede said...

I'll be praying and also thankful for a very simple week compared to yours. Christmas is very low key here-likely the only decorations I'll even see is in our house. We will make cookies and treats to give to our neighbors. Your list of reminders is great for any season!! Merry Christmas.

Alida said...

I am praying that all goes well!

OliveTree said...

Thanks,Kris and Alida! Giving treats to neighbors is one thing I probably won't do Kris. Too much other stuff going on. But I love that idea.

Jamie Jo said...

Hi, Olive. I pray you enjoy a lovely Christmas this year. Ours is more simple than usual just because there will be fewer of us. The only tradition that we are keeping is a party for the neighbors. Aside from that, it looks completely different this year.

Considering it all joy.... Thanks for the reminder.