I'm not going to talk about personality types.
I'm not going to mention we all had eleven months to get to this point, because I think the holiday crazies aren't about planning. Life interrupts the best of plans and when you're self-employed like we are, we have to keep that reality in the back of our minds.
Can we meet that deadline if catastrophe hits?
Can we volunteer for that Christmas play and get revisions done when that email comes in on December 4th and they need them by December 23rd?
Can we get those lights strung in the shape of a Star of David while setting up a Living Nativity with borrowed sheep and camels?
Okay, the camels might be a stretch! :) But you get the gist. It gets tricky.... and trickier yet when we worry that we're disappointing parents (throw in a nursing home or assisted living or illness into the mix, right?????) or disappointing children, spouses, editors, friends, neighbors.... the list is long and intense, my friends!
But life happens. Whether you're a Type A "Planned-to-the-minute" gal or a "Let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may" kind of person, the holidays have their own brand of pressure.
My advice: Breathe. Blink. And breathe again.
Scale down. Trim back. Pray. Talk to God. Spend more time with your Nativity scene and less time with Amazon and QVC.... You can stretch your arms and your efforts toward the things of God... and shrug off the things of national advertisers.
Christmas is a beautiful season, but Lord have mercy! It has become its own temptation.
I used to be a super shopper.... I blush to remember it! What was I thinking????
About fifteen years back I realized I was stupid. No, don't pat me on the back and say "Oh, you weren't stupid, Ruthy!!!!" Trust me: STUPID.
And then God gave me a smack upside the head, said "simmer down, there, little lady..." and I took His advice.
I still love to do things. Decorate. Bake. Laugh. Pray.... but I learned to never have a December deadline and if someone tries to push one on me, I say no. Nothing is going to mess up my Christmas, the prayerfulness of Advent, the joy of a Savior's birth... and I feel the same way about Lent before Easter.
I put out Great-grandma's handmade reindeer and Santa display.... I set up our thirty-year-old resin outdoor Nativity scene. Dave and the kids bought a piece each year for about three or four years... They haven't all weathered well! Kind of like me. They have their aches, cracks and pains, but passers by don't see that. They see the image of a family, struggling, tucked in a stable, having a baby... Lit by ground lights, they light up the night with the hope of Christmas. The meaning of Christmas.
I still work early in the day, like always. But removing deadlines and not overly-committing myself means that I can embrace the "Mary" part of me, the part that's often overshadowed by my Yankee "Martha" self. :)
And then if catastrophe strikes in the form of illness, breakage, sadness or grief, I can move forward.... share cookies from the freezer... Hugs from the heart.... the work of human hands to ease someone's heavy load.
I am here in cold, wet Western New York wishing you all the most blessed and beautiful of Christmas seasons! For, unto us a child is born! Unto us a Son is given! And He shall be called Wonderful! Counselor! The Prince of Peace! The Everlasting Father!!! And we can go forward together knowing that what we do for the least of these, we do for Him.
That makes it the best Christmas ever.
And to make this a lovely bit of relaxation, I'm going to send one lucky person a copy of my BRAND NEW WISHING BRIDGE STORY!!!!
"Embracing Light in Wishing Bridge", just released this week....
Leave a comment below and I'll tuck your name into the Sugar Cookie jar!
We've got this!
Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne loves Christmas but she also loves embracing the spirit of calm she avoided for way too long as she raised six kids and did too much shopping.... She loves God, her family, her country (yes, she bleeds red, white and blue proudly), chocolate, coffee, dogs and so many things! You can message her at email@example.com or visit her website at ruthloganherne.com. Sending Christmas blessings!