Faith · Family Life · Parenting

Christmas and Guilt

Christmas is coming, in case you didn’t know!

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Why is it that these holidays come with so many different emotions?  Oh wait, I already know the answer.

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Because there is a lifetime of traditions and family gatherings and parties and reflections on the past year and family gatherings (did I already say that one!) and gifts to buy and end of the year things to accomplish and Christmas pageants to create, perform in or attend, and school finals, and dance performances (at least that’s what I did a few years ago!)  And now that we have a son there are new traditions to create, or things to continue, or decisions to make (santa or no santa – and now decisions to defend!).  Ugh, I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.

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And then the ‘should’ and ‘supposed to’ thoughts set in adding more pressure or stress or things to figure out in the midst of it all…img_7015

For years I have had the honor of working for a church and I am so thankful for a job that I love and enjoy!  But, as you may know, Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for a church because of many of the aforementioned things.  So, that means my Christmas has historically been packed with lists of things to do.

Somewhere along the way I’ve changed my view of Christmas.  I love this time of year but I don’t love it like most people seem to.  Maybe others feel this way?  Let me know if you do because so far I’ve been searching to see if maybe under all that Christmas ‘spirit’ is someone else who is just sort of walking through it.img_7311

I know, writing it out here makes me a little scared that someone dressed in an elf costume will be knocking on my door shortly to call me the Grinch or something?!img_7453

Anyway.  I sort of feel guilty, which I hate feeling.  Generally, I hate guilt, I hate feeling manipulated by it, I hate when people make me feel guilty, I generally avoid it and escape those who are prone to guilt trips as a general lifestyle choice!img_7461-version-2

So my solution:  I’m kind of figuring it out as I go.  But here are some things I’ve come up with.

  1. Go at my own pace.  I’m resisting the comparison trap (who sent Christmas cards sooner, decorated their house better, took their kid to see Santa 15 times, took pictures with red cups, saw the best Christmas light display, etc.)
  2. Enjoy my own pace!  My brain is telling me that I am soooo late on all things holiday related and therefore I stand in front of a cute light display thinking “I should have seen this 2 weeks ago” which is ridiculous and robs me of the joy of the moment!)
  3. Pick which holiday things work for our family and skip the rest!  Ah the freedom!  It feels good just typing it!
  4. Keep forcing Jesus to be the center, focus and reason for all things Christmas.  This should be obvious, but it isn’t.
  5. Remember the joy!  This is supposed to be fun!!  And I shouldn’t be saying that through gritted teeth!  I want to choose activities and enjoy moments with the people who are in them because next to Jesus, that is the second most important part!

Ok, your turn!  What’s on your list?

And since I keep forgetting to take pictures of us at our Christmas events, these are some from last year!

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P.S.  I absolutely LOVE my family and I’m so excited that my two sisters and nephew are in town this year to celebrate.  But you know, we can be real too, after all this is a safe place!  At least, I’ll do my best to keep it that way!  When family is in town that means you’re not in a room alone, which means talking happens and things come up.  And who better to bring up “things” than the people who know you best/have the most history with/are related to in some way and therefore think alike/act alike/feel alike…you get it!

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