Tis the Season to be Jolly.  Mu ha ha ha ha… ha ha ha ha!  (Insert dripping sarcasm here.)

I love what Christmas IS, but not necessarily what it’s become.  When the shepherds rushed to see an infant Christ lo those 2000 years ago, I really don’t think he intended to inspire camping out at Best Buy or mob rule at Walmart for a $20 crock pot.  With commercial Christmas now beginning before trick or treat, it’s really easy to get completely sick of the whole thing well before the real Christmas finally arrives. 

We’ve essentially turned “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” into “Sweet Jesus, is it Over Yet?”  On December 26, we collapse onto the nearest soft surface and thank God that we don’t have to hear anyone else sing Last Christmas for at least 11 months.  (Incidentally, I believe that song is probably a violation of the Geneva Convention.  Someone really should look into that.)

We are bogged down in the obligations of the season rather in the meaning of it.  Gift lists, party invitations, family gatherings and decorating in the perfect Pinterest-approved way leave us exhausted.  We don’t have time to take a deep breath let alone contemplate the miracle of the Incarnation.  It’s Jesus’ birthday, and yet more often that not, He’s the last thing we think about. 

So what’s a girl (or boy) to do?

This year, I’m making some concentrated efforts to NOT lose my mind.  Here is my plan.  Feel free to use or discard these in any fashion you deem appropriate:

  1. Prioritize.  I cannot be all things to all people, and ironically, this is not a felony.  I simply cannot do everything I’m asked to and that’s okay.  I’m making a concerted effort to only do the things that matter to ME.  Honestly, saying no is weirder for me than it is for the person I’m saying no to.
  2. Paring down.  I don’t need to buy a gift or make treats for every single human being with whom I come in contact.  That’s MY expectation, not theirs. 
  3. It’s okay to take the easy way out.  It’s okay to use mixes, buy gift cards and shop online.  Martyrdom isn’t something you can wrap, so leave it at home.
  4. Keep perspective.  Remember WHY you’re doing this.  Christmas is a celebration of the coming of Christ.  It’s God coming near to us.  It’s not about making everyone’s material hopes and dreams come true and putting yourself into financial and mental ruin in the process. 
  5. Take time for  yourself.  Read a book you want to read for an hour.  Take a hot bath.  Go see a movie with a friend or even by yourself.  Buy yourself a little stocking stuffer while you treat someone else. Remember to keep yourself on the list. 

I won’t tell you that I won’t get stressed and I won’t feel rushed.  BUT… I am hoping that by being more vigilant about my mental and emotional health, I’ll have a better shot at this whole Merry Little Christmas thing.

Here’s to keeping Christ in Christmas and our minds set on Him.