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Seeing Through the Holiday To-Do List

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

May you see through your holiday to-do list and into the hope born that night so long ago. Romans 15:13 - 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. #MomentsofHope - Lori Schumaker

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 HolidaysI 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.

Featured Post

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! ?

Being Thankful in Stressful Times -#MomentsofHope feature post - to-do list

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.

Get your printable 5 Favorite Hope-Filled Bible Verses at www.lorischumaker.com

If this gives you hope, would you consider sharing it with others to give them hope, too?

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  1. Lori, I so agree with all you have shared. It is in deliberately and intentionally slowing down that we will find our focus to be stayed on Him and ourselves filled with hope. For the first time, in MANY years, we put up our tree and set up our manger this past weekend. My desire is that seeing the visible signs of Christmas will keep me focused this entire Advent season. So grateful to join you each week!

    1. I am praying alongside you, Joanne, for a focused Advent season. May we all not be swept away by the current of our to-do lists! Thank you for being a part of #MomentsofHope! I appreciate you so much!

  2. I love sharing this season of hope and joy in this community. Thanks for the gentle reminder not to let the celebration overtake the purpose — and may we find grace to live in the moment more during these beautiful days of waiting.
    Blessings to you, friend.

    1. Thank you, Michele! I’m so thankful for this community of amazing hope-sharers! Each of you truly blow me away with the powerful Christ-filled messages you bring! I am humbled I get to host this!
      Blessings and smiles,

  3. Lori, thank you so much for sharing my post! It can be such a challenge to let go of our perpetual task lists and to find balance as you mentioned. Thanks again for this wonderful surprise! I hope you have a blessed week!

    1. Hi Courtney,
      It was my honor to feature your message! It most definitely spoke to me and further impressed a conviction in my spirit! Thank you so much for joining me here at #MomentsofHope!! ♥

  4. Thank you so much for the reminder to keep our priorities straight! I make a to-do list almost every day and many times I overlook the most important things! Time with God and time with family should be at the top and I will be sure to keep this in mind every morning as I write out my list! Thank you for this encouraging post 🙂

    1. Hi Nicole, I’m so thankful you were encouraged today! You encourage me so much each week with your messages. Thank you!

  5. I love these encouraging scriptures Lori! Our family is keeping our focus by reading Advent Reflections: Let the Weary World Rejoice by Gail Johnson. They are meaning and short and a perfect way reflect on the joy of Christmas. Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/2fEWK91

    1. What a great idea, Angela! Thanks so much for the link!

  6. Lori- Looking forward to ways to hold onto joy! I have my pom-poms here, cheering you sister in Christ!
    We can do this- get everything done according to God’s will and find Him in this Season.
    Let’s pause often and remember HIM;)

    1. Julie,
      You are the BEST! I love having you by my side!!!
      Blessings and great big smiles,

  7. I cannot tell you how excited I am for your series on JOY! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Love you, sweet Lori!

    1. Love you back, Lauren!!!! Joy is such a good thing, isn’t it!!♥ ♥ ♥

    1. Thanks, Melanie! I’m so glad it blessed you today!

  8. Intentionally slowing down is such an area I have been focusing on right now- love the Bible verses!

    1. Thanks, Keri! I’m saying a prayer right now for you to have diligence and tenacity as you recognize where you can cut back and slow down! Thanks so much for joining me here at #MomentsofHope!
      Blessings and smiles,

  9. I am touched by the gift of you, too, Lori! We so need the source of HOPE, and it’s such a blessing to be encouraged in God who alone has it all in His hands. Thank you. Praying with you that Jesus will speak t us and give us His hope. “The kind of hope that takes you through any storm and lands you on the other side. The side of victory!” Love this. Blessings of hope and hugs to you!

    1. Many many MANY blessings of hope and love to you, too, Trudy! And of course great big hugs!!!

  10. Hi Lori,
    Thank you for your wise words. Slowing down is difficult at this time of year but absolutely necessary to be able to see the magic and wonder of it all. This year it’s been enforced on me and I’m taking each day as it comes….
    I hope that you have a wonderful advent season and that its filled with light and love. xx

    1. Praying for you, sweet Jade. I know this season is so difficult for you and your family. Make sure to stop by next Thursday to read a post written about holding onto joy in the midst of grief. I have a guest writer sharing from a deep place of experience. I pray it encourages you. I’ve got you in my heart and prayers ♥

  11. I don’t want my holidays to be filled with to-do lists, but I still end up with them. This year I want to be more relaxed and enjoy being with family as the holidays come around. I pray that God will help us to set priorities and not let all the lists take away our joy.

    Blessings to you, dear Lori!

    1. It’s so darn hard to not get that great big to-do list going, right? I’m praying with you we can keep them down to only what really matters, Gayl! Thanks so much, friend, for visiting and sharing hope each week!
      Blessings and smiles,

  12. Lori,
    Such a beautiful prayer from Romans 15! Your post is such a powerful reminder for us to stop and really contemplate what should go on our to-do lists. Thank you for this much-needed reminder, and for the beautiful scripture cards! Blessings to you and your family this season!

    1. Hi Christin,
      I’m so glad you were blessed today through this post! Blessings to you and yours, as well!
      Blessings and smiles,