I read an absolutely fabulous blog post the other day. Click here for the link to that blog post. I don't know the woman who wrote it. I only know that she wrote exactly what I needed to read. Every word of that blog post stuck with me. It has resonated in my mind and I have vowed to myself to make this holiday season a simple one. For my little boy. For my baby to be. For my husband. For me.
We see the phrase "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" posted around our churches, on ornaments, on decorative pins on the sweaters of women we pass in the grocery store, on Christmas cards, and maybe even on a festive tray or napkins at our own homes. But oftentimes, we become consumed with keeping up with the Joneses and we really don't cling to the promise that Jesus is the reason for the season. Our homes are decorated to the T. We spend huge amounts of money to make our homes smell like Christmas, and look like a cover of Southern Living magazine. We feel like we have to rush to buy the greatest Christmas gifts for our family members and friends so that we can dust off our shoulders and feel the pride that comes when they open the gift we've bought for them. This mad rush and the frantic feelings that come with it are all centered around one thing: Stuff. Stuff we don't need. Stuff we probably can't really comfortably afford. Stuff that will sit in the attic for 11 months out of the year. Stuff that will look pretty on the outside, but will eat away at our insides because we were miserable all the while as we raced around trying to fulfill our own fantasies about what Christmas should be like for us.
I don't want to be that person again.
I want to enjoy my life as a wife and mother. I want to embrace each day of this season with the mindset that it's not about me, or gifts, or decorations, or traditions. It's about Jesus. And I can be honoring to Him by truly focusing on His promises and His presence.
Part of this means that I will be saying "no" to myself.
Oh, I'm an excellent Pinner on Pinterest. I can Pin with the best of them. I have found so many cute ideas for my little Petersens to do as children. This list includes drinking "Grinch Punch" while watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, making googly-eye ornaments, and painting thumb-print snowmen and Christmas lights. It includes baking the rolled-out sugar cookies that my mom would bake at Christmastime when I was growing up. It includes going on a Christmas light scavenger hunt. Maybe starting the Elf on the Shelf routine. It includes my kiddles unwrapping a "Christmas Eve box" filled with Christmas PJs, a Christmas movie, microwave popcorn bags, hot chocolate mix, and snacks to enjoy as a family snuggled up on the couch on Christmas Eve night. It includes so many sweet, cute things that make the holiday time extra special. But it's not for this year.
This year, Michael will be nearly 16 months old on Christmas day. He doesn't sit still long enough to make it through a movie. His drinks of choice go from water to milk to apple juice-- so he won't very much care if he doesn't get to drink Grinch Punch this year. He is just now learning to color (and by that, I mean making lots of polka dots and scribbles on paper), so he won't be coordinated enough to make a googly-eye ornament, or a thumb-print picture of snowmen and Christmas lights. Although he has my sweet tooth (which around this time of year, at least in my situation, becomes as large as the North Pole itself), we probably won't make our own batch of Christmas cookies. Funny how gestational diabetes makes you look for alternative festive foods besides cookies and milk. And, I do know that my mom will be baking these cookies, and Michael can certainly have part of one while at her house. We have no Elf on the Shelf this year. We might possibly drive around and look at Christmas lights if we feel like we have the time and desire. I bought Michael a set of Christmas-y PJs at a consignment sale back in September, but we won't be unwrapping a Christmas Eve box this year.
My Pinterest list is great. But not for this year. This year, we will just be. We will be happy at home spending time with each other. Michael and I have spent most afternoons this week playing with toys with a Christmas movie on in the background. He runs over to me and asks to be held, and we sit on the couch and watch the movie for a few
This weekend, Aaron and I will put up some of our Christmas decorations-- not everything, but some things. We'll put up the tree and decorate it with the toddler friendly ornaments we have. We'll set our Jesse tree on the dining room table and have our devotional in the mornings or at suppertime. We'll hang Michael's stocking on the mantle and resting on the mantle will be the Nativity set.
At the moment, these are our holiday decorations currently on display:
-On our front door hangs what Target calls "swag." I thought it was different and pretty, and might hold up better this year than my homemade Ornament wreath which has seens its better days.
On display on my vanity right now is Priscilla the Expectant Mother-- part of the Fontanini Nativity Set. I got Priscilla for my birthday and she's been in my room since then. She will join the other Nativity figurines once they are brought down from the attic and placed on the mantle.
And finally, on my fingernails is this bright red finger nail polish. Although it's somewhat "chippy" (I've had to recoat my nails several times this week), it is just the right hue of red to add a festive flair to my outfits.
I sometimes light a Pumpkin Cheesecake scented candle in the kitchen in the afternoons when I get home. It offers a festive aroma without tempting calories and carbs of a real dessert! So, at least I know that if Michael and I aren't baking Christmas cookies together this year, at least our home can smell like we're baking.
I extend our invitation to you. To just do less this year and spend more time focusing on the true Reason for the Season and enjoying the family and friends around you.
My prayer is that we all grow a little closer to our families and our friends as we delve into another season that can be overshadowed by material things. I pray that we all find the time to embrace the peace that this season can offer if we let it. I pray that our homes be filled with warmth as we truly enjoy the company around us. It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be expensive. We can simply just be.
Much love, Reba
*P.S.-- Last night, Aaron got down our decorations from the attic. The nativity is now set up on the mantle. Michael's stocking hangs from the mantle. Our Jesse tree ornaments are sitting on the dining room table waiting for the Jesse tree to make it's appearance once we find it (in the attic I hope). This afternoon, I'll assemble our tree and plug in the lights and Aaron & I will decorate it after Michael goes to bed. See? Simple things can be enough. :) I'm feeling more peaceful and relaxed already.