a Stress Free Holiday + a Printable

We all know the holiday season is, perhaps, the most stressful time of the year.  It's true!  Between the parties and the shopping and the house cleaning and...the parties the most wonderful time of the year can easily loose all of it's appeal.  In the midst of the chaos there has to be a way to center our minds on the real meaning of Christmas: Jesus.

In all of time, I cannot think of a greater miracle.  God came to earth in the form of a baby.  He was born into a world full of pain and hardship.  He lived in a world full of disappointment and slavery.  He died a gruesome, horrific death.  He rose again to continue to give us the hope of true life.  But in that miracle--the miracle of His life--He alone brought the healing and freedom that humankind ignorantly was desperate to attain.

I have already found myself captive to this holiday culture, but I'm determined to change.  I only want to be captivated with the miracle of Christmas.  Here's a few steps I'm committed to applying to my life this month.

1.  No matter what, remember to take time for Jesus.
This holiday world craves more of our time and attention, but work to control that unquenchable beast by giving attention to Jesus...and not just in passing either.  Really focus on Him each day.

2.  Teach your kids and yourself that the most important thing is people.
Standing in line after line it becomes so easy to ignore the world and just push to the front of the line, but that person stand in front of you or behind you might just need a little kindness.  Oh, and it's ok to let someone else have that parking spot.  There will be another one.  Even it's at the back of the parking lot.  And the people checking you out at the stores are people too.  I know some of them seem dense (because some of them are) but chances are they've worked harder and longer than you have.  It's retail, people!  They clean up the mess that we leave in the floor of the fitting rooms.

3.  Stay grateful.
The turkey has been eaten and the pumpkins put away, but our attitude of thankfulness should follow us.  Everyday is a gift.  Every breath a chance to love and to give more.  Fight that attitude so pervasive in our culture--the attitude that wants more--the attitude that is never satisfied with enough.

4.  Set boundaries on your time and your money.
More is not better.  More is...more.  What is the purpose of having a ton of friends if you don't have one friend that you can share your heart with?  What is the purpose of having beautiful, nice things if they stay on shelfs hidden away?  They're no good.  They're not useful.  How arrogant are we to attain more than we need or more than we can responsibly steward?  (I'm so convicted right now.)

I am convinced that if we dedicate ourselves to experiencing life to the fullest we will.  I don't believe that God wants us to live life rushing from event to event.  I don't believe that God wants us to live a life of wasteful excess.  But I do believe that God created us to love each other and to let our love for each other show the world how good He truly is.  I do believe that God desires to bless us to make us a blessing.  And I believe that His desire is for us to find the peace that only He brings.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

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