By Kristi Sullins
Staring at a small chalkboard reminder of how many days are left until Christmas, I feel the tension build. It is something I ignore most of the year, and no, it does not belong to me or it would have magically “disappeared” a long time ago. As long as the number stays in the triple digits I am fine. As it gets closer to 40 than 50 I find myself wanting to throw it across the room.
The holiday season is here and the reality of what it brings is front and center. I need to prepare for all the big events like musicals, meals, and gift giving while not forgetting the small things like costumes, cookies and class parties. Somewhere in the middle of that is the ridiculous need for clean clothes and a house that exudes holiday cheer.
A recent Greenburg study of holiday stress states that at the holiday season “stress takes on a different character than any other time of the year as men and women alike make it their duty to provide their families with the best possible holiday”. Do you imagine that stress character as a large, hairy beast? I do.
As a small side note to the ladies, the average woman carries the bulk of the holiday stress as the battle for perfection in every detail of work and home keeps us from sharing our load. We go without sleep as we stress about dollars, deadlines, and details. I would love to take the very pious approach and say that it is time to slow down. And it is. As the mom of three with a full time job I just laughed as I wrote that.
The truth is that we have changed the reality of the holidays. The impossible juggle of time and money replace the peace and joy that was meant to be. Church attendance shrinks until you get to Christmas Eve where it soars again as everyone crams in a little time to celebrate “the Reason for the Season”.
Maybe it is time for us to be more intentional.
Let’s choose to rewrite the holiday season by looking at each detail and determining what is best. Can we sit to read a story with a dirty kitchen? Will the world really end if our children help clean the house? Detail by detail can we examine our plans with a heart open to what God would say is the best way to celebrate?
His desire is for us to be able to be thankful because He knows a heart choosing to be full of thanksgiving is a heart that can truly see all the ways they have been blessed. His desire is for us to have eyes that are sensitive to those who are hurting because we are the hands and feet He most desires to use.
His yearning would be that in the midst of the chaos we would be overwhelmed again and again by the gift of Christ that He willingly gave for all of us.
He longs that we would use this holiday season as the perfect outreach tool to reach the lost because then we display an understanding for the hope Christ really gives.
Will you choose to journey through the next 8 weeks with a mind and heart set on being intentional in all of our choices so that we truly cry out “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15)?
Let’s do this together. We can take back the most wonderful time of the year and let God pour into our hearts.
Ladies, JOIN US for a relaxed night of fun. It can be the beginning of doing this year with more intention and less stress. Tis The Season is an event designed to help us slow down.
The Women of First ministry invites all ladies to usher in the holiday season with fun and festivity at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church. Tis The Season is a one-night celebration of the holidays. Join us for a delicious dinner, inspiring worship and creative activities. For questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org. November 13 at 6:15 p.m. Cost is $10.