I walked the mall yesterday while my daughter Gracie was at a birthday party. Should have been a great opportunity to get some Christmas shopping done as I waited, right? Wrong. Though I normally love to shop, I somehow felt strangely out of place in all of the frenzy and madness that filled the halls and surrounded the crowds of people.
Everywhere I looked stores, media, and advertising hype seemed to bombard shoppers with relentless reminders of what we “don’t” have and what we “need” in order to be “better.”
Yet, deep in my heart, I knew that God, in all of His goodness, desired simply to remind us of what we DO have and what brings TRUE peace, joy, and celebration in the midst of this season. After all, it is Christmas! Isn’t it “our” season to celebrate? Shouldn’t such an amazing time of year be reflected MOST through the hearts of those who believe in the Truth that it brings? Should greed be allowed to rule over generosity? Could rudeness ever be complete master over joy? Would the frenzied, hurried race of the season subdue any sense of peace that should naturally flow from the very reason we celebrate? My mind raced as I walked, I seemed to go faster and faster, yet never stopping to buy even one single gift.
This morning in reflecting back, I was tempted to feel like I’d wasted my time. Stress clung to my mind as I thought about all that still needed to be done. I felt the weight of inadequacy sweeping over me as I compared myself to others who had seemingly accomplished so much more by this date. Decorations still waited to be hung, shopping still needed to be done, social commitments, already on the calendar, begged for attention, yet in the midst of all, I stop.
The quietness of the moment filled my heart and I could almost hear God whisper to me, “less is more…less of this world leads you to more of Me. More of Me leads you to less of this world.”
Ah yes, that’s where life is. I breathe this in, and let it sink deeper, into my mind, into my heart, into my spirit.
So, it’s decided. This year, I’m making new choices.
This year, I will choose to:
let go of the expectations and pressure to make it all Norman Rockwell-ish,
give more generously to those in need,
extend grace to others,
believe the truth that I’m not a better parent based on how much I buy or don’t buy for our kids,
be content with what we have,
enjoy people more and things less,
find celebration in HIM.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
By: Debbie McDanielLeave a Comment
Yay! Agreed! 🙂
My husband and I watched a couple episodes of that new gameshow “Take It All” last week, and at the end of the second one I said “Y’know, I’m not so sure I want to watch this any more. It’s all about who can get the most stuff and turning people against each other. It’s greedy.” And a good many of the prizes were ridiculous, purposeless junk! My husband agreed. That’s not the kind of thing we want to let into our home. Especially around Christmas.
I’ve been feeling very convicted about this in general. I think next year, we’re going to do Christmas differently. Less focus on gifts. More focus on what really matters.
I so agree about this show. It is the worst! I was sucked in by it one night last week and was so disgusted by the show, by my response to the show. Ugh! Last night, I intentionally turned the TV off before that show came on.
Oh wow, haven’t seen that show, but so agree, more focus on what really matters! Blessings to you!
Dale carroll-coleman says
Lovely post… ” enjoy people more, things less.”
Wise words and a reminder of what matters. Thank you and Merry Christmas!
thank you so much Dale, have a Merry & very BLESSED Christmas!
I love this, it’s so sad that more people don’t realize this and get back to the basics. Parents are working, and some are working and going back to school and they’re running themselves ragged trying to do everything. There needs to be a return to simplicity where children receive 2 or 3 gifts each and give away things they don’t play with anymore that are almost new. They would appreciate things more, especially if they help others who don’t have as much.
thanks so much Bettie for sharing, it does so often seem that this most wonderful time of the year gets covered up in too much stress that many carry – thank you for that reminder.
Amen! Well said!
Another thing I really don’t like seeing is the advertisements on TV, that make you feel like you have to give a car, expensive jewelry, or the like to make other people happy! Really?
Jesus admonition to Martha to not be anxious and bothered about many things is what I need to remember and focus-hard to do-on Jesus!
yes, so true Charlotte! Mary is my hero yet I’m often stuck in a Martha mindset. thankful for God’s patience & grace…
A wonderful post! I have really been struggling with this myself this year. I have made an effort to bring more Jesus into Christmas at our house, but I keep feeling guilty for not getting my son MORE. It is ridiculous, really, he is still getting plenty.
Thank you for this timely reminder. Jesus is the reason!
Yes, I’m living that! Thank you Vicki for sharing, He indeed is THE Reason!
Kara M says
AMEN! I REFUSE to let the world rob me of my Christmas joy. I refuse to let ME rob my joy. We don’t have kids yet, but patiently wait for one! So, as we wait, I have been meditating on what I want Christmas to look like with children. From in our home to parties to celebrating with the grandparents! I want my kids/family to experience peace during Christmas!
You are very wise Kara! You’ll be a wonderful mom someday! Jesus.is.Peace.
Marinalva Sickler says
Celebrating with hot chocolate, panettone, pictures, Wesley and my church family’s Christmas Dinner is my agenda for this year. No gifts, no shopping except a toy for Wesley, my eight-years old grandson. We lost a lot this 2012; we need a time to gain strength in love each other and enjoy the time together.
That sounds wonderfully “simple” & simply wonderful Marinalva – something I’m discovering is worth getting back to. The Lord bless you & your family in this new year ahead!
Kaitlin @ Perceptions & Passions says
Like my two-year-old puts it Christmas is… when Jesus was born(ed)!!
It doesn’t get much more simple (or rather complicated-ly simply) than that. 🙂
Precious! I love it! and so true. (:
Beth Williams says
I totally agree! I haven’t been to the mall in over 1+ years and that only for shoes.
I have come to love/hate this time of year. It seems like right after Halloween–forget about Thanksgiving and a nice meal with family & friends–only Christmas & buy buy buy–get, get, get! My hubby and I put up a small “Charlie Brown” type tree with some ornaments on it. We have gifts around it for family, but nothing for each other. This year I adopted a Salvation Army Christmas Child & truly enjoyed shopping for him.
As I get older, I believe in less is more. Less of this old yucky world & more of Jesus and the peace he brings!
Love what you’re doing Beth in adopting a Salvation Army Christmas child – that is awesome & so rewarding to give to others who really are in need. Bless you and yes, More of Jesus, agree!
So wonderful to see and read you here, Debbie! Thank you for this reminder.
Thanks so much my friend! Have been thinking of you & praying this past week, staying posted with you on your site – much love to you!
Mich Nicolas says
Just wonderful! I feel the same way! Oh, to find Jesus in all of this! I actually wrote about this, too 😉 http://citygirlcountryhomeph.blogspot.com/2012/12/finding-jesus-in-flurry.html
God bless you!
Mich, just read this & love what you wrote – so true, thank you for sharing! Often in this crazy life, we do have to be “intentional” about keeping our focus on what’s most important – HIM! Bless you girl!
Katie @ imperfect People says
Adorable picture. Well written post too. Thanks!
thanks so much Katie, have a very BLESSED Merry Christmas Week!