Christmas day is fast approaching and many people are in a full-on lather of activity; shopping for gifts for our friends and family, attending Christmas social events, Church events, and Children's Christmas activities and concerts. Not to mention scrambling to get things tied-up at work before the Christmas break! This is just par for the course for North Americans at this point in history. Hello Christmas Rush! If you are finding, like so many other people, the manic pace of the season wearing you thin, here are a few quick ideas to get your feet back on the ground and regain some sanity.
Take a 20-minute time-out daily - Not just for misbehaving children anymore! A 20 minute time out by yourself with a cup of tea, and a good book, or a little nap is a great way to step out of the flurry of activity and avoid the symptoms of the Christmas rush. This daily 20-minute discipline is a good time to reflect (not plan), to be still, to be quiet, to pray, to read, go for a walk, etc, - whatever you like to do. The world will not fall apart in 20 minutes!
Avoid Friendly Fire. Think before you shoot! - You want the house to look great, you want lots of presents nicely wrapped under the tree, you want to send your Christmas cards, prepare a great holiday feast and arrange the logistics so the big day is awesome! You sincerely want it to be a great day for those you love! Unfortunately, as a result of the Christmas rush (the pressure to do all the great things) - the people we want it to be so great for are often the unintended recipients of stress-induced anger! The ones we are working so hard to demonstrate our love to, we end up shredding in haste of stress. Remember the journey toward Christmas is just as wonderful an opportunity to be loving (and patient, and kind) as the big day itself. Look for healthy ways to deal with the stress, take a deep breath before you speak, and remember, you want your loved ones alive to enjoy your labor of love on Christmas day!
Watch your Spending - It is so easy during the holiday season to overspend. We live in a culture that is constantly bombarded with a message that we show how much we love someone by how much we spend or by giving the hottest gift. When we look at it in this light, we can generally agree this is not the best way to demonstrate love. Love is demonstrated in a multiplicity of healthy ways, but the common denominator is ourselves - the gift of our time and our attention. Be the gift you give to your loved ones!
Keep the BIG picture in mind - In spite of the Christmas rush with all the frenetic activity and busyness, it can be so easy to lose sight of the BIG picture. Not the trees, the presents, the food or festivity but the celebration of the Gift of God to all of Humankind. Christmas is a time when we celebrate the historical event when God took human form and dwelt among us. He gave Himself for us that we may know love and truth in the flesh and by this demonstration that we too may respond with love to God and those around us. Peace on earth and goodwill to everyone! Let's live in the mystery of the incarnation and the peace, joy and hope at its core. Take the time to receive this gift afresh this Christmas.
Let's approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush.