Finding Rest in the Rush: Preparing your Heart for Christmas

mvhd5qvldww-anna-dziubinska How do you prepare your heart for Christmas?  Is it another holiday or is sacred?  How do you find rest in rushing during this season?

I have to admit sometimes I get caught up in the mix of commercialized Christmas.  My mind quickly shifts from Thanksgiving, thoughts of Pilgrims who came to this country on a hard journey, endured sickness, cold and death, forged friendships with strangers, shared a meal in gratitude and friendship with the ones who lent their hand of skill and survival to Christmas Crazy! All in one month. Christmas can quickly become distorted because of the rush and expectations of it all.  With a little rest I think we can regain the meaning of this season. {Jesus}

At this time of year I ask myself how can I slow-down with so many committments? How can I put Christ first when business distorts that and I wind up with more of a whole lotta things I didn’t bargain for like a ragged woman staring right back at me in the mirror.

And here’s what I came up with:

1. Prioritize

If it’s on my calendar I ask is this necessary right now, this month?  Is it dire? Will I die if it doesn’t get done, will someone else die if it doesn’t get done (and if so do I like that person, which might change your response to question 2…kidding;) Like dental and OBGYN appointments, necessary but maybe doesn’t have to be this month even if your due, as in due for an appointment, not due as in going into labor due. Cause by all means get yourself to the nearest hospital and have that baby and enjoy the little vacay. (If you have more than 1 kid you know what I am sayin;) The point: rid your calendar of all {un}necessaries, the goal: spend time with family, spend time with Jesus, after all isn’t He the one we celebrate.

Ultimately, what’s important this month? Minimize to make time for things that matter. The rush is only a rush if you’re in it.

2. Be Still. Be Quiet.

Can I say that? We’re friends right? If it’s not our mouths that are always running, it’s our minds.  And if you’re a woman reading this you have 1 or both of those problems goin on. Don’t even try to deny it. I am not judging; Let’s face it being busy wins us some sort of honorary place in society that labels us worthy of respect simply because we’re busy, we’re just like everyone else, we fit right in.  And we wear our badges of honor proudly as we gather round chatting about just how busy we are  and sighing our little sighs of disbelief as we add more and more to our already cramped calendar.

3. Go Less. Stop More.

Hectic starts with a capital G and ends with a big fat O.  In my opinion the rest begins at home, in the quiet moments (if you’re a stay-at-mom with littles running around those are far and few in between but there is still simple moments to be had in the crazy of home life with kids around).  It’s in the stillness of a sunrise peaking in the kitchen window before everyone arises, or the stalling of a head on the pillow before small feet hit the floor, or snuggling on a couch with a good book or the embrace of a loved one.  Rest isn’t found in r-u-s-h. If your stage of life beckons you to move, rush, go, run, walk faster, eat quicker, stay out later, than you need to fight for your rest more forcefully.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy…for in 6 days the Lord made the heavens and the earth…but he rested on the seventh.” Exodus 20:8-11

Our choosing to rest sets us apart from the world.  The world doesn’t rest.  America      doesn’t rest. We work. We work hard. And we are very proud of it.  Rest (we think) is for sissies and we are not sissies! And yet God set an example for us to rest after a long week of work.  I wonder what our bodies would be like if we took His advice. Rest, ultimately, is found in s-t-o-p-p-i-n-g.  Do what you gotta do and don’t what ain’t gotta.

Challenge yourself to get your Christmas shopping done in 1 day, all online or one trip to the store. Let me know how you do?

4. Remember

In the old testament we see God always asking his people to remember.  He asks them to remember the good times and the bad times.  (Deut. 8:2, Joshua 4:1-7, Jeremiah 7:12) Why? Because remembering helps us focus on the One who brought us this far, who delievered us from darkness, from trials, and danger and the One who even, while we went through pain, heartache He was there.  Remembering is a powerful tool for putting perspective on a very busy season. On the other hand forgetting leads to complacency.  If this season is a mere holiday of stacking gifts under the tree, checking off lists, attending office parties and chruch events than we missed it.  If we remember, {Jesus} the reason we are so busy than this whole list makes sense.

Don’t let Christmas lose it’s luster for cheaper things like rushing around tyring to get it all done, gift giving and reciveing, and the other distractions this commerciallized month brings.  Be set apart.  Let the world see that the celebration of His birth is the reason we do this thing.  Let them see that He’s worth it. Let us be different.

5. Play

Let’s face it which mom has time to play?? As much as I dream and think about how I need to play more with my growing babies who are now 8,9 and 4 (and my awesome husband) I don’t.  I want this season to be a time when we play and spend more time together.  Here are things we do to slow down this season. This list if for grannies too and young couples with no kids, we all fall into the rush if we’re not careful.

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-Christmas Book picnic by a fire

-Bust out the Christmas china (garage sale finds) and have a fancy tea time over Advent verses

-Cuddle on a couch and watch a Christmas movie together (sounds easy but trying doing with a sink full of dishes and see how tempting it is to wash instead of watch)

-Take your man out

-Bake for your neighbors, and yourselves

-Make homemade gifts for each other (mom’s do it too;0)

-Chop wood together (a chore that needs to be done is a chore better done together;)

How do you find rest during this month?  How do you chill during the chaos? How do you play? Add to my list.

 

 

 

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