Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post may contain affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you!).
Thanksgiving passed in a blur. We hardly blinked and we’re well into December already. All of the holiday activities have begun which means for some of us, it’s the most wonderful (stressful) time of the year. So maybe this year is the year that we finally “embrace less”.
When I suggest this, I’m not talking about less material things (although for many of us, less stuff is something worth considering). Rather, I mean “embracing less” as a heart posture of slowing down. Of quieting the busy so that we can take in that which is truly important.
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Col 3:2
Embracing less so that you have the heart space to draw nearer to Christ.
Because what we really need this holiday season is a refocused heart on advent. And one of the simple things he asks of us, is to abide. “Abide in me and I in you.” John 15:4
“refusing the wrong of rushing, lingering long enough to really listen. There is no need for more: the heart is full of gifts that is full of Christ.”Ann Voskamp
What would it look like if we could set aside some of the hustle and bustle of the holidays that bring worry and stress, and instead abide in Him? What if we sought out practical ways to bring fullness, unity, and peace in your home?
And this will look different for everyone. But a few examples/ideas:
- If sending the perfect Christmas cards to everyone is enough to put you and your family over the edge, consider a family night of writing some handwritten letters to just a few loved ones. It may not be “easier” or less time consuming, but it’s displays thoughtfulness to the recipient and time together as you write (or color if the kids are young).
- Forgo the popular (yet sometimes traumatic) Santa photo for a quiet night at home. Pull out a few props and set up a family Photo Booth- get a little silly together!
- instead of trying to fit in every single activity and party, be OK with saying no to some of these outings for the sake of a healthier, well rested family.
- Take a little extra time at dinner each night to read through an advent devotional together.
Set aside hurry and hustle for slow growth, being present, and abiding in Him long enough to hear His still small voice.
Refuse to feel guilty for not ticking off all the holiday bucket list items (like ice skating, decorating Christmas cookies, caroling, etc). These can be wonderful activities to usher in the joy of the season, but when the “why” behind them doesn’t point towards joy, it’s a hindrance, not a help.
And I get it, there are commitments we need to follow through on and holiday activities we really can’t avoid, even though they do bring a measure of stress and busyness. But even in this, we can shift our perspective towards Christ:
“Linger in the quiet and taste the grace of now, and know that He is good and He is God… So the whirl can hush and the spin can slow because He will bless, and He will bless with himself come down. The present is His presence…Ann Voskamp
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love.”Zeph 3:17
Will you pause long enough to listen to His rejoicing over you?