Christmas: Weary or Celebrating

Christmas Cross 2014

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I promised myself I was not going to do it again this year. I always come to December First, determined to not let my calendar get the best of me. Determined to make Jesus the center of all I do.

Almost without fail, I enter into Christmas morning, weary. Not excited to create a special breakfast for my family. Opening presents? Sure it’s great, but then there’s the dish to prepare for that evening’s celebration with my family, an hour away.

Boys and treeI’m so weary from the doing that when it comes to serving my family, to celebrating Jesus with them, it can feel mundane. My heart is not in a place of preparedness to celebrate Jesus. My body and soul are tired.

Cups of tea copy

This year, I told myself I wasn’t going to be twirled around by the schedule. That I would have a heart that shares still moments with Jesus. That I would walk in His peace. So far, I haven’t done a good job of this. Over the weekend, I prayed about the churning in my spirit, and God showed me I need to simplify.

House in Frenzy Mode

We’ve got most of our Christmas decorations up, but the house is still a mess, as the collage shows. My house is such a picture of how my life feels right now. There are glimpses of beauty in the midst of the clutter. Peeks at rest amid the busy.

I want to walk into the rest of this season not busy “doing Christmas.” Instead, my desire is to purpose to “be” with Jesus as I walk through my days. Not so worried about my to-do lists that I miss out on laughter with the boys, a cuddle with my honey. A still heart when I spend time with Jesus reading His word.

Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus

I want to truly meditate on the gift Jesus has given each of us—Himself. I don’t want to miss out on communion with Him.

That being said, I am taking the rest of the month off to simplify and be more fully in the moments that lead up to Christmas day. I’ll be back in January.

Christmas peace

I know Christmas can be a trying season—either because of loss, or hard memories. My prayer for each of you is that you will know Jesus’ presence in this season. May it be one that holds rest amid the busy-ness, and joy in the difficult moments that can creep in during this season.

What about you? How do you balance the doing and the being of Christmas? What’s your favorite or funniest memory of Christmas?

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12 thoughts on “Christmas: Weary or Celebrating

  1. The balance is hard to achieve, that is certain.

    One thing I have done, that seems to help, is to mentally disconnect the “festivities” from the meaning.

    The lights and tree and presents and feasts are all well and good, but they’re really more in line with the old pagan midwinter celebration.

    And there’s nothing wrong with a secular holiday – July 4th is one, and no one minds that it is.

    With Jesus and the Holy Family? For me, they occupy a special place in my heart, and for them…

    No feast, because they had only what they could carry.

    Minimal presents, because the presents Jesus received were of decidedly little use to an infant; and Joseph and Mary likely could not have held onto the gold in that society. For sure, they didn’t come with receipts for easy returns.

    Christmas is a private celebration, and I don’t have to look for meaning in the secular arena. Santa Claus may be coming to town, but Jesus is already here,and He’s never been away.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Jeanne, and I’ll be looking forward to your blog resuming in January.

    Yours in Christ, yours in hope –

    Andrew

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    • Andrew, as always, I love your thoughts here. The idea of separating the festivities from the actual celebration of Christmas within my heart? I never quite thought of it that way. I tend to think they have to mesh together. And perhaps they do, a little. But I think you nailed what I’ve been trying to figure out. How to celebrate Jesus as one of His worshipers, in the midst of the busy-ness of preparing for the holiday festivities. When my heart is ready to celebrate, the serving and preparing for the festivities—the activities—will be geared toward Jesus as I serve my family. I’m not sure I explained this well, but you’ve got me thinking. 🙂

      I hope your Christmas is a restful one, one filled with the hope Jesus gives us. I’m thankful for you!

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  2. I like your post. I am proud of you for taking the hard step. I pray you will experience Christmas in a refreshing way….me too!

    Jennifer

    >

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    • Thanks, Jackie. I figure I’m at a different season in life than some people. Last year, I blogged through Christmas, even while we traveled. This year? I just can’t do it. 🙂 I’m still looking forward to reading others’ blogs, as time allows. 🙂

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  3. The holidays make this a hard balance. I think I am learning a little more each year. Slowing down for sure helps me feel the great gift Jesus birth was in deeper ways and helps me share that with the kids.

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    • I’m like you, Lisa. Learning a little more each year. And learning to flex with the season’s demands/desires. I’m all for slowing down, though. And learning how to celebrate Jesus in my heart as I prepare for the festivity aspect of Christmas. 🙂

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  4. Jeanne, we have implemented one solution to the busyness of Christmas. We moved the date back to December 1 for all Christmas deadlines. We buy all gifts in the month of November, put up the tree and decorate on the weekend closest to the 1st of December and then sit back and enjoy the Advent Season leading up to the 25th. There are still the last minute details like cooking and packing for those of us who travel, but the stress has diminished by 90%.

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    • Wow! What a great idea! This plan sounds like a wonderful way to enter the Christmas season open to whatever the Lord might want to share rather than marking checks next to the next “must-do!” item on the list. I’m going to have to see how much of this I can implement next year.

      I appreciate you stopping by! Thanks for sharing your way of “doing Christmas.” 🙂

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  5. My family (four grown children, three in law children, and seven grandchildren) decided five years ago to create memories instead of buying stuff, meaning we use the money we formerly spent on gifts to take a super family vacation every summer. Usually an ocean front beach house for a week. At Christmas time, we share a meal, let the grandchildren perform a Christmas skit, watch videos of previous vacations, and then each person shares how God has been at work in his/her life this past year and how they would like to see him work in the coming year. We pray for each other and sometimes sing worship songs together. We also have plenty of time to just hang out and visit. And yes, we still have some gifts for the grandkids. When our day is over, we are energized instead of exhausted. And less gift buying brings that stress level down throughout the season without creating guilt. This won’t work for every family, but mine loves it.

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    • Joe, that sounds like a great way to take the stress out of Christmas, and to focus on family instead of stuff. I love the idea of making memories with your family—both on a special vacation in the summer and during December, when the focus is on being together. Such a wonderful plan!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

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