Surviving the Holidays – Part 1
Thursday, November 29th, 2018
There are two things we must talk about when it comes to this time of year. Surviving the holidays. And surviving the holidays.
I see this “survival of the holidays” not only from the stand point of surviving the madness of shopping, decorating, partying, etc. but also (and probably more importantly) from the stand point of surviving the family dynamics that we walk into as we celebrate with loved ones near and far.
I know for myself – I tend to bury my head in the sand starting just prior to Thanksgiving alllll the way through to New Year’s Day. Whew. I get SO overwhelmed with putting up the Christmas tree, decorating the house, purchasing presents, gifting our neighbors, attending holiday gatherings, shopping for outfits for the Christmas photo, traveling to celebrate with family, delivering Christmas cards, baking – oh my gosh, I am about to have a panic attack just listing all of these extra things that are supposed to be fun and bring us closer to our families and help us draw closer to Jesus – and yet, they just put me in a really bad mood.
This year – I am determined more than ever to do it differently. Here are three things that have helped thus far:
We wrote out all of our holiday options / responsibilities and looked at my list and decided what we were really interested in doing and then we let the rest go.
And that means saying “no”. For those of you that might have a hard time keeping boundaries – this will be hard. I know it is for me. What can you say no to this holiday season that isn’t adding any value to your already packed schedule?
The other tricky yet rewarding aspect that goes with saying no is that we have to know ourselves well. We have to know what we like and don’t like, what we are passionate about and where our values lie. For women walking through betrayal – this is especially hard because betrayal is pretty much just like a mid-life crisis and what we thought we liked or were passionate about – all of a sudden goes out the window. No doubt – this journey is an opportunity to really dig into who we are and who God created us to be.
I started thinking about presents before December.
For real, most years – it’s December 20th and I’m thinking it might be time to do some Christmas shopping. But not this year. No way. I ended up taking notes on my phone when I heard the boys or Jason talk about what they would love to have. It’s not even December yet and I’m more than half-way done with my purchases! This is unprecedented for me. And it will help me with my last pointer, below.
I want to actually slow down and practice advent versus it being an after thought.
So much of my journey over the last decade plus has been about figuring out how to wait well. And not just waiting well but waiting with hope. In other words, an expectant wait.
Not only was I waiting to see if Jason would become the man God created him to be, I was also waiting for my broken heart to heal. I was waiting to see if my marriage would survive. And if we’d have a family and share a life together. (And to be clear, I wasn’t waiting with my legs propped up on the couch watching The View – my wait involved working the process in between bouts of the View. bahaha!)
What I didn’t realize at the time was that what God was doing within me during that wait was just as important (if not more so) than what I was waiting for. The wait is brutal, painful, not glitzy and oh-so-vital to our journeys.
So we are planning the most wonderful day of the year (thanks to the suggestion I found in this magazine) and allowing anticipation to build as we think about the games we want to play, the lights we want to go see and the cookies we want to bake.
This is the same kind of anticipation that we as Christians get the opportunity to experience every Christmas season as we await the birth of baby Jesus – the One that bridged the gap for us, making things like forgiveness, restoration, healing and wholeness even possible in the first place.
I’ll be back with Part 2 here soon. As always, I’d love to hear from you. xo – Shelley