It’s the first week in December and I’m already prepared to fail at Christmas. I never complete a Jesse Tree devotional with the kids; I shop at the last minute; I rarely manage to open our home to others as much as planned before the chaos sets in, in the early days of the Christmas countdown when my intentions are oh, so good.
I’ve already given the kids my annual don’t set your expectations too high speech. Twice. It’s an integral part of my Christmas defense mechanism.
But somewhere beneath the self-imposed stress of the season—in rare moments of clarity—I know this truth: I can’t mess up Christmas because Christmas isn’t about me.
It isn’t about how well I decorate or if I figure out how to spatchcock a turkey or if we deliver baked goods to the neighbors.
It’s about Him, and that is all.
In Matthew 11:30 Jesus says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” and I’ve never read a translation that includes the footnote “except in December.”
The challenge lies in balancing what I can manage on a perfect day with what’s acceptable: being free to attempt the first but content to settle for the second. I want to make meaningful memories with my family, for my kids to know it’s not how much I run around or spend that matters.
It’s what comes from our hearts, not our wallets, that counts.
But what does that look like?
- Keep microwave popcorn in the pantry and work through a few Christmas movies with my family, especially A Charlie Brown Christmas. If we can’t find a good evening to watch it, at least make sure the kids play with the app and we watch Linus’s monologue.
- Make a steaming bowl of wassail at least once (recipe below*).
- Invite friends over a few days in advance (this sounds logical to most people, but I’m a last-minute, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl) so that I have time to clean and prepare if I can. If I can’t prep and clean, entertain anyway.
- Block off an afternoon to make simple craft gifts with my kids instead of one more exhausting day in the stores.
- Attempt a month-long, daily advent devotional—we’re destined to eventually manage it!—but no matter what, read Luke 2 (and cry over verse 19, as usual, because it deeply touches this mother’s heart).
- Season our December with a Christmas soundtrack, even if the kids get Scroogy and complain. The Little Drummer Boy will always remind me of my mother and the way her voice trilled the lyrics rum pum pum pum.
It’s not the gifts we remember, but the traditions that entwine our hearts with our memories.
Sisters, if stress already threatens your peace this December, remember that you cannot fail at Christmas because it’s not about you, it’s about Him. Slow down, take a deep breath, and make some real memories with your friends and family.
And maybe make some wassail, too!
1 gallon apple cider (buy the fresh kind in a plastic jug in the produce section)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 6-oz. can frozen lemonade
1 6-oz. can frozen orange juice
12 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
In a large kettle, combine cider, sugar, lemonade, and orange juice. Tie cloves and allspice into a small piece of cloth (cheesecloth works well) and add to cider. Add nutmeg and cinnamon stick; simmer gently for 20 minutes. Heat to steaming, but do not boil. Remove spice bag, discard, and serve hot. Transfer to a slow cooker and float orange or lemon slices on top for a nice presentation. Makes 30 to 35 servings.
by Dawn Camp, My Home Sweet HomeLeave a Comment