Thanksgiving started with a long walk with my husband. We laughed because we remembered the days when the kids were little and we would throw them in strollers and head out. Now we could take off on our own as they held down the fort without us. But we realized that even though that freedom now exists, we rarely take that gift and head out.
What do we do instead?
With a free hour, we check the boxes on our to-do list.
We look right past each other, forgetting the importance of slowing down. The importance of peace. The importance of us.
Now, I don’t propose letting everything fall apart around you so that you can live joyfully in a happy bubble. However, I do propose balance. Wisdom. Discernment. And priorities.
Fast forward to Saturday. Thanksgiving dinner, family time, some (okay, quite a bit) Black Friday shopping, an iPhone screen repair, one son’s basketball practice drop off, a transfer of service for another iPhone, and an estimated departure time of 12:45 for the other sons first of four basketball games for the weekend.
It was 12:45. We hadn’t departed.
We still had to pick up first son from his practice so he could join us for the other son’s games.
The Waze app said there were traffic delays.
Stress? Yup. Lots. It wasn’t a shining moment in the Schumaker home.
And you know what? It set the whole day off on a not-so-great foot. The peace wasn’t full. The joy not very big. And the laughter? Well, it was running low.
Have you been there before? When the holiday to-do list overran everything else? Especially in this holiday season when the to-do lists are long and the hours seemingly short?
I get it. As you see, this family is there way too often. But I want this year to be different. I want to be conscious of my choices … of the things I add to my to-do list.Does your holiday to-do list take over your holiday? #hope #joy #MomentsofHope #holdingon Click To Tweet
So, how about we do this together? How about we keep what really matters as our priority? And cut out a whole bunch of the rest, so we are free to do well what really matters?
Can we ask ourselves if the items on our holiday to-do list are self-imposed or are they ones we can honestly affirm as necessary for a greater good. A greater good that points to the Reason for the holidays. Are they about the Hope born that night? The hope we can instill in the hearts of our children? Or about the cultivating of a grateful heart? One that reflects the love and gratitude of the humble Savior who came to save us from the darkness of our sin?
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13 NLT
From now until I take some time off with my family (the last two weeks of December), I will be writing about Holding onto Joy During the Holidays. I hope you will join me here because I know that we are more powerful together than alone. I need your encouragement (and best cheerleading skills) to keep me on track and I hope to do the same for you! It won’t be all my words, either. I’m excited to share a dear friend and author with you as well as some fun gifts! Because, well, what would Christmas be without a special gift or two?
A Neat Way to Add a Little Christmas Joy!
Have you ever thought of making special videos for your loved ones who live far away? A video is a quick way to personalize your Thank You or Christmas Card or letter that helps others feel special. Plus, it provides a way for you to have fun with your kids while you exemplify kindness, love, and a grateful heart. You can make your own or use a platform that makes it a lot easier.
But for today, I am excited to share the words of Courtney Leigh. Friends, her post from last week’s link-up spoke great big truth to me. It was this that got me:
“Wait, why am I doing all of this? I was recently thinking about my favorite holiday and why I look forward to it. I love Christmas, but I realized that my first thought about why Christmas is my favorite is not always because of Christ’s birth. My first thought is often about what we do to celebrate. My focus has become the celebration itself rather than the reason for the celebration. When my focus during the holidays is on parties and family get-togethers, it’s no wonder that I stress out so much over making them fun. If I don’t do everything for the gifts and parties just right, the celebration is ruined. I get caught up in the responsibilities that are often self-assigned, and I forget that the purpose of holidays is to remember rather than to create.”
So, if conviction is what you need as we go head first into this month before Christmas, stop by Courtney’s and read Being Thankful in Stressful Times! Then would you make sure to encourage her with your words of hope? Because, well, after all, this is where we give and we soak in #MomentsofHope! ?
I’ve added a printable set of my 5 favorite hope-filled Bible verses to the Library of Hope! Sign up to join us this month and you will get my 5 favorite hope-filled Bible verses as printable cards! You can do that here or using the photo link below.
If this gives you hope, would you consider sharing it with others to give them hope, too?