It’s the holidays. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and more than a few of my neighbors and friends have decorated for Christmas. It is the time to celebrate–a season for gratitude and happiness. Yet, too often I find myself becoming more anxious than grateful. Do you become overwhelmed by the commitments, the purchases, the obligation to be joyful during the holidays?
I’m no expert when it comes to having it all together. What I have found, however, is a few key ingredients to not only get through the holidays but to embrace and sincerely enjoy the season.
Schedule in NOTHING.
That’s right–Nothing. Take your calendar and choose some times when you know you need to unwind and relax. Write the word “nothing” in the square of your calendar. When you are tempted to schedule an event or even take on a spontaneous outing, check your calendar. If you scheduled time for nothing, keep your commitment to nothing. Time at home, enjoying the ones you can wear your slippers and yoga pants with is therapy. Less doing can be more meaningful when you use the time for just being.
Make it about something and someone else.
Have you fallen into the cultural trappings of the holidays? Has it caused you to feel obligated to make every wish to come true? Do you really need to bake another pie? Do you need to buy another gift? When did we really become the people who show our affection with more? And the better question might be is that added pie and that extra gift really about the recipient? Or is it about you? Is it about appearing to have it all together–impressing someone? There is an undercurrent in our culture constantly urging us to gain more, better, bigger—to continually upgrade our life, our social status, our value in the eyes of another.
This season take a breath. Step back and relax. Your value is not based on what you do, what you give or how many events you attend. Jesus told a parable in Luke 14:
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Put someone else ahead of you this season. Be purposeful about not seeking honor in anyone’s eyes but God. Finding your satisfaction in the approval of God will change your whole outlook this season.