I grew up loving the Grinch movie, but it wasn’t the Grinch himself I loved or that it was a cute cartoon to watch. Instead, it’s the moral of the story that I loved so much —
Christmas most definitely doesn’t come from a store.
Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.
But even knowing that, sometimes the stress of all the shopping and busyness, in addition to trying to afford all the Christmas presents we want to buy for those we love, can steal our Christmas peace and shift our focus to worldly things and expectations that really are not all that important. I can certainly relate to doing that, and maybe you can too.
In my Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today devotion today, called When You Can’t Afford Christmas, I shared how well I’ve learned this important truth that the Grinch learned in the cartoon. Due to now being a single mom and the sole provider of our family, my gift buying will pale in comparison to years past. But me and my children know this is not what’s most important and Christmas will still be wonderful. In fact, when I talked to them about this a few months ago, as I shared in today’s devotion, they each sweetly expressed they didn’t really “need” anything anyway. Be still my heart.
There is such peace when we come to truly understand that nothing under a Christmas tree is more meaningful than the people standing around that tree together.
Lots of things will threaten to steal our peace during the holidays but Jesus is always here offering the gift of His peace. We just have to choose to open that gift and keep our focus.
Today as promised in my P31 devotion, I’m sharing a few tips on how to maintain your peace during the holidays, because after all, when Jesus was born the angels proclaimed, “”Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men…!” And that proclamation was meant for you and me.
Practice being budget friendly. It’s so tempting to overspend on gifts during the holidays. I confess I used to do that myself. But when you can’t really afford it, it’s best not to do it. If your budget is thin this year, consider Googling happenings in your city where you can enjoy living out life with those you love – unwrap experiences rather than presents. Visit outdoor markets, lights displays, and free local holiday events. Volunteer at a local charity together. Build a fire and cook s’mores while talking about memorable things from the past year. Make some homemade crafts together and decorate the house with them. Simply put, make memories, because memories are rarely forgotten but tangible gifts are.
Practice gratitude. Thanksgiving is not the only time we should practice being grateful. Rather than focus on what you don’t have, what you can’t buy your children, family or friends this year, or what situations aren’t as you wish they were, focus on intentionally being grateful for all the things you do have — the intangible blessings you can provide your children, and the memories you can make to hold dear even in the midst of difficult situations. Intentionally think positive, and those negative peace-stealing thoughts will become less and less.
Practice breathing. Sometimes we get so stressed out with our long list of to-do’s, we forget to really pause and breathe and not only remember the real reason for the season, but enjoy it. No matter how many things you have left to do, make time to sit down and relax and breathe. If something doesn’t get done – it. is. okay.
Practice patience. Long lines at the store, traffic, bored kids at home, sibling rivalry, family gatherings and not enough money in the checking account can all test our patience during the holidays. When we lose our patience, we lose our cool, and in turn, lose our peace. Start thinking about ways you can react differently than you have in the past to situations (or people) which you know tend to steal your peace during the holidays.
Practice closeness. The holidays are a time to draw near to family and friends, and also to God. Don’t let yourself be too busy, too stressed or too impatient to appreciate the treasured people God has put in your life. And don’t let the busyness of the season and the world’s view of what Christmas is about pull you away from spending time with God and remembering the priceless gift of the birth of His Son. Rather than pulling away when you’re at wits end, pull in closer. Let family, friends and faith fill your heart with peace.
Today I’m giving away a fun holiday gift pack worth $70.00 which includes
ALL 3 OF MY BOOKS & ACCOMPANYING STUDY GUIDES!
To enter to win:
1. Leave a comment sharing which of the 5 tips you are going to practice this week,
2. Then share this post by clicking on one or more of the share buttons below.
Winner to be announced next week!
Want to give someone the gift of encouragement and hope this Christmas? Consider purchasing a 3-book gift! Click on the book covers to be taken to the purchase page. Visit my store to purchase all the accompanying downloadable study guides.