We had hardly finished gobbling down turkey when the invites started pouring in.
Now, the first 24 squares of December are filled to top to bottom:
Breakfast with Santa,
The city’s tree lighting,
A homeless outreach.
And those are just this weekend’s options.
It's the most wonderful time of the year they say. There are class parties to attend, family to see, and traditions to keep. And in all the fuss, I’m constantly reminded that we should be making memories.
We’re making memories alright.
When my eyes close after battling too-tired children into bed Christmas night I remember…
The forced smiles.
The unpaid credit card bills.
I make every effort to create a memorable Christmas for my family, making my list and checking it twice. But in the end, many of those memories I sought and stressed for end up feeling so… empty.
Where did it all go wrong?
I don’t think it’s just me, because I recognize the familiar look on the faces of other moms, too.
A longing for something different.
We have a problem, you and I, and that problem is we’ve given in to the lies that more activity equals more memories.
Here's what I've come to realize, friends:
In my pursuit of a memorable Christmas, I miss out on a meaningful Christmas.
A season wrought with intention.
Activities chosen (or declined) with purpose in mind.
Relationships nurtured through the rare gift of unrushed time.
This is starting to sound like a Whoville rhyme...
Okay, off topic, but here’s the point:
My children don’t need to see four different Santas, no matter how fun that might seem. And maybe I don’t need to spend time and money I don’t have putting together goodie bags for my daughter’s class when a bag of wrapped candies will do. And, perhaps, I don’t need to serve at all five of my church’s Christmas services, but instead give my very best at one or two.
There’s that rhyming again. For Grinch’s sake. I digress.
As much as I (obviously) struggle with it, there is power in focus.
What would a meaningful Christmas look like for you?
Maybe it’s forgoing your church’s widely-attended ladies event for brunch with just your besties.
Maybe it’s trading your delicately decorated, 7-foot pine for a table-top version so you don’t have to spend the season fussing at your curious toddler.
Maybe it’s taking a meal to one neighbor who lives alone instead of dishing out soup to the masses.
Please hear this: I’m not saying any of these things are wrong.
If you’re sitting there arguing in your head, BUT I LOVE THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF MINGLING WITH 200 OF MY CLOSEST LADY PALS, then by all means, GO. FOR. IT!
I’m simply asking this: What is going to be most meaningful for you and your family this Christmas?
When you're struggling to figure out whether you should go to that work Christmas party, or travel to Minnesota to see your great Aunt Anne, slow down and ask yourself these questions:
Still unclear? Ask your family what ONE thing they can’t do without this Christmas. Their answers just might surprise you. For one of mine it was piling in the car to ooh and ahh over Christmas lights. For another it was snuggling up and watching “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and eating “Grinch treats” (literally Rice Krispy Treats that I put green food coloring in).
Also: I have a Grinch problem, obviously.
There’s nothing inherently flashy or exciting about any of that, but to them it matters. You want to know what the funny thing is? Memorable is not always meaningful, but meaningful is always memorable.
One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is John 10:10 where Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Don’t allow the thief to overwhelm and distract you from all the life in this special season. There are so many gifts to be discovered that aren’t under the tree.
The allure of memorable often causes us to overfill, over-commit, and overspend—only to leave us feeling more empty than ever. Don’t fall for it. Let’s choose to live full, not frantic.
Make it a merry, meaningful Christmas, friends.
Julie Hamlin Settle
12/7/2018 07:44:11 pm
Beautiful, Katie. It's exactly what I'm focusing on this year...the meaningful. Glad you brought it to light for others who may be struggling with the holidays.
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A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Rooted Moms founder, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.