Day 3 of tackling the Big Five Holiday Stressors

When I came up with this idea, my thought was that I could just identify my top five holiday stressors and then briefly bullet point a few tips that work for me to keep things in perspective and some ways I have come to terms with any temptation to compare myself to how others do the thing.

Instead I have managed to write two of my longest posts ever.

Mission not accomplished…so let’s see what happens with this one.

Today we move on to another big pre-holiday task that can ratchet up my procrastination skills and send me into all kinds of nervous eating.

Decking the halls

<3 Two Problems:

One is getting started and second is knowing when to quit.

It takes me forever to finally get up the nerve to start pulling out all those green plastic bins.

But as I start digging through the treasures of Christmas past, I can get pretty carried away and our interior can begin to look like the front section of Hobby Lobby in mid-summer….cause you know that IS when they start stocking the shelves now.

Christmas in July is a real thing people.

<3 Another issue:

I am indecisive about everything in my life except coffee and Jesus.

So I end up walking around the house with a boxed nativity, a couple of snowmen squeezed under my arms and a wreath muttering to myself about where I can put it all.

<3 Visions of Pinterest dancing in my head:

Long before visual perfection was available in photoshopped, staged, well-lighted HD categories to my inbox; I used to tear out pictures from magazines and catalogs to help fuel my inner Joanna Gaines.

This can be good if I just use it as a guide, but very bad if it becomes my ideal.

I will always fall short or spend precious time as I launch a tri-county search for just the right size lantern or sprigs of evergreen and berries.

<3 Finally:

This one is probably the ultimate downer and you can thank me later for planting the seed when you go out to enjoy the Christmas lights a’twinkling….

I do have concerns about the conditions for workers and the wages allotted in the multitude of overseas companies that produce the majority of all of our knick-knacks and baubles.

Not to mention what kind of conclusions they have drawn about America and Christmas and the whole big machine that has ensued from what started as God sending His Son to be born in a manger

Because sometimes even I can’t figure out why we do what we do.

So as far as what works for me, here are a few things:

<3 Start outside …. It’s easier and there really are less choices to make.

<3 Put on Christmas music (this is actually gleaned from two Christmas-y friends who reminded me it was a necessity when pulling the tubs out)

<3 I frequently remind myself in the process that I don’t have to use everything.

The nativities and trees are a given. So I decide where those are going to go and then identify a couple of surfaces I can do some tucks of Christmas and a vignette or two of keepsakes collections.

<3 Like all the other things I purchase from clothing to toys, I pray for the people who made it to know Jesus and I ask for forgiveness for a world where we scrutinize the ethics of missions and question those who are claiming to work for the least of these with great rigor and yet think nothing of where that killer outfit we got for a song may have been sewn together.

I remind myself that God placed me here in this time and place and culture for a reason and that the influence I have been given is for a purpose.

And there is a tension that will always exist between knowing all that I have available to me is an undeserved gift to be stewarded for His Kingdom.

So where does all of this land us?

Now that I have gone from trimming the house to stepping on toes?

Perhaps you are like me and are conflicted by this process of celebrating the birth of Christ by transforming your surroundings with trees and snowmen and a Nativity with a blonde baby Jesus nestled in a tidy, ceramic hay pile and three wise men looking on, which ….in truth… is not even scriptural in timing or number.

Well yesterday I came across a writing by Melissa Spoelstra and it certainly answered my silent prayer to God to give me meaning in something I was enjoying doing…yet wanted desperately to be honoring to the Season of the birth of His Son.

{as we put up the tree and the lights and get out special holiday dishes…all the ways we are  preparing our homes for Christmas} “…we can remember that we do things differently for a purpose. We change the look of our surroundings as a ritual to celebrate something great. God loves us. His plan was to redeem us through Christ.”*

As you untangle the strands of lights or ignite the wick of a simple candle, remember that your life is meant to shine bright in a dark world. Your decorations are not just another item on your to-do list, they are a ritual with meaning.” *

Some may balk at the use of the word “ritual” just as it is becoming popular to shy away from the term “religion”.

We have politicized these as polarizing and legalistic.

But as Melissa points out in the devotion, we can look at the example of the Tabernacle in the Old Testament and see that all the rituals were designed to point to the holiness and life-giving Light of our God.

We are now His Temple and the things that we do in our homes to commemorate the Advent…the coming…of Christ are expressions of our religion…which is defined as a particular system of faith and worship. 

We are Christians and as we go through the customs and traditions (rituals) that we have done year after year, may all our tasks be done as worship to our Savior.

May God Himself bless you as you prepare your home for the celebration of the birth of God’s own Son <3

*Total Christmas Makeover: Melissa Spoelstra, Abingdon Press, 2017 pp. 28 and 29







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