Christmas, Intentional Living, Mothering, Uncategorized

Christmas: When We Need to Give Grace

A lit Christmas tree in dim room casting light on the walls

@JeanneTakenaka

It seems like this happens every year.

Thanksgiving is a couple of days behind me, and I determine I’m going to make this year the Christmas season where I’m truly resting in the midst of the busy-ness of it all. I decide to cut back on activities and things I feel obligated to complete.

Each year I promise myself I’m going to come upon Christmas Day rested and worshiping my Savior, grateful for all that the Day represents. 

And almost every year Christmas Day arrives and I am weary.  I forget to give myself grace.

Young hands holding a Christmas angel tree ornament

I’m finally beginning to figure things out. I am a mother of teenaged boys. We have family who live in faraway places. Our boys have concerts. Hubs has work parties. I have invitations to gatherings. In this season of life, I am not sure there is a place called “completely rested.”

Am I giving up on this aspiration? NO!

But, I’m giving myself grace . . .

*To be a little tired come Christmas morning. Preparing so that the day is special for my loved ones takes time, effort, and energy. And it’s worth it to me to invest this so we can make special memories as a family.

*To say yes to some (not all) things I enjoy so that the season doesn’t feel like all work and no fun.

*To say no to some activities others say are important or “must’s for your perfect Christmas.” Is there really such a thing anyway?

*To not try to fit in everything I want to do or feel like I need to do. 

Meme that says, "We celebrate Christmas to remember Jesus' brith and the ultimate gift of eternal life He offers each person who believes in Him." on a backdrop with a cream colored cross hanging on a tree.

I’m choosing to remember that the main reason we celebrate Christmas is to remember Jesus’ birth and the ultimate gift of eternal life He offers to each person who believes in Him.

Some of the things I really want to do won’t be accomplished this year. And that’s okay. 

If I can come to Christmas morning knowing I’ve honored the Lord in my heart, that I’ve done what I can to point my boys and those around me to Jesus, then that’s enough.

I’m choosing not to pressure myself to do it all. 

Image of three mugs of tea on a place mat with pine bows

I’ve decided to take a blogging break. Y’all know my family is my world. We only have a few years left with our boys under our roof, and I want to make the most of the time we have. 

I want the opportunity to create memories with them this Christmas. And I want the memories they have of this season not to be peppered with stressed-out words from their mama’s lips. 

I will be praying for you all this Christmas season, and I’ll look forward to beginning a new year and a new decade with you!

A creche scene

May the Lord fill your Christmas season with many glimpses of His love for you. As you prepare to celebrate Christmas the way your family does, may you sense the gift of His presence in your days.

Please know that you all mean the world to me and I thank the Lord often for you, my readers. Thank you for your encouraging words and insightful comments this year.

And, in the meantime, may God bless us, every one.

What about you? What is one Christmas tradition that is special to you? How do you keep Jesus first in this busy season?

Click to Tweet: I’m choosing to remember that the main reason we celebrate Christmas

I’m linking up with JENrally Informed and #RaRaLinkup

30 thoughts on “Christmas: When We Need to Give Grace”

  1. This sounds exactly like my December every year. I always think I’ll cut back on some things, but it’s hard to figure out what that will be, by the time I consider everyone’s expectations (my own included). Often writing time is what ends up getting cut, unfortunately. Even so, I think you are right to take a break from blogging and to concentrate on your boys while you still have them under your roof. The time with them will go all too fast, as I can attest. But, if you can figure out those few things that really make the Christmas season special for your family, it will be a cord that will always draw them back to you.

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    1. Eileen, your comment made me smile. It can be really difficult to know what to cut back on each December. And I’ve found that it changes from year to year. I know you know this, and the reality that my guys are going to be out of our house (Lord willing) in a few years is really hitting me hard right now. So many memories I still want to make with them! I know you know this as you’ve watched your kids move into adulthood. I so appreciate your insight shared here!

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  2. ‘Tis the season of pro football,
    tra la la la la, la la, la loo!
    And to watch it takes my all,
    please move aside, you’re in my view!
    Don we now our Yuletide trappings,
    Hidey hidey ho, and off we go!
    Now the call, the center’s snapping
    QB just got sacked, they hit him low!
    I hear Christmas carols playing,
    Yippee-ki-yay, mutha…oops!
    Fourth and sixty, Hail Mary, praying,
    pass is really high, are we playing hoops?
    On Earth as Heaven, God’s football-crazy
    and Jesus wants to be Tom Brady.

    For those who might not be diehard Bruce Willis fans, the “Yippee-ki-yay” reference is the signature line from that favourite Guy Christmas Movie, ‘Die Hard’.

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    1. Andrew, I grinned at your poem, but it was also a reflection of how our priorities can get WAAAY whacked out at Christmas time. And, if I let my youngest read this, he’d be high-fiving you. He’s a huge Patriots fan. 😉 And, for the record, I was just telling my husband we needed to watch Die Hard. It’s been years since I’ve seen it. I’m praying for you and Barb, my friend.

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      1. Go Pats!

        And yes, definitely see Die Hard for Christmas. Aside from the Yuletide spirit, the never-give-up message is well worth the trip.

        And…”Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho.”

        We wish you guys the very best, for a wonderful Advent and Christmas!

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  3. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement. I, too, am trying to avoid the crazy in Christmas. How goofy to forget the groom at a wedding, the birthday person at a birthday party, the King of king and Lord of lords. May your season be filled with glimpses of Him and His amazing love for you, as you live it out to those around you! 💝

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    1. I agree, Heidi! It’s crazy to get so wrapped up in “doing” Christmas that we forget the Reason for the celebration in the first place! I hope your Chrismtas season holds sweet memories with your family and many glimpses of God’s love for and delight in you, my friend.

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  4. Yes to all of this. I love that you are extending yourself grace and making time to be with your family this holiday season. Making room to focus on Jesus will yield such abundance.

    May you find peace and joy in your family time. Blessings upon blessings!

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    1. Mary, it’s taken me long enough to figure some of this out!! I’ve found in past years that, as soon as I determine to find peaceful moments with the Lord every day, things come up that distract me and lure me away from rest and quiet and presence with Him. This year, I’m going to do what I can to quiet my heart daily so I can be with Him. I hope your Christmas season holds the peace and the rest that refreshes you and prepares you to greet Christmas Day with much joy!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. Sometimes it’s the giving myself grace that is the tricky thing. It’s easy to dispense upon others, but so hard to accept for myself. 🙂 I appreciate your words!

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  5. Yes, always important to remember the why behind our doings can be the special priorities that are building foundations for the years to come. Nothing wrong with some busyness that is creating treasured memories and deepening relationships! Have a wonderful Christmas season Jeanne!

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  6. Yes, Jeanne! This is one more opportunity, isn’t it, to extend grace to ourselves while holding our expectations even more loosely? I hope you have a wonderful break from blogging,my friend, enjoying all the holiday things and hopefully finding a bit of time here and there just to sit and look at the Christmas tree. 🙂

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    1. Yes, Lois. We need to extend grace AND hold those expectations very loosely. I hope your time with your family is special this season. I imagine you’ll have some tears, but I also hope there’s laughter in your days. Sending you hugs, friend!

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  7. Yes, Jeanne, give yourself grace and allow as much time as you can for your boys. 🙂 They do grow up far too quickly. Have a wonderful blogging break and a Peace-filled Christmas! Thank you for your many inspiring posts this year. I’m looking forward to more in the New Year. 🙂 Love and blessings of quiet times with Jesus in spite of a busy mom’s life!

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    1. Trudy, thanks for your grace-giving words. It’s sometimes a little tricky to spend time with our boys because this culture encourages them to be so tied to their devices. We’re navigating that and working to create special moments in the middle of all of life’s craziness. I hope your Christmas season holds joy and rest with your family as well sweet friend. Thank you for being such a light and encouragement!

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  8. Thanks for voicing and sharing thoughts all of us wish to say, Jeanne. I think it’s good to focus on the presence of Jesus during Christmas and only doing what’s important while letting go of other things. Nothing wrong with taking a blogging break. Good for you! My favorite tradition I started years ago is cooking a big country breakfast on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas!

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  9. I love this Jeanne!
    So right – my favorite thought is “If I can come to Christmas morning knowing I’ve honored the Lord in my heart, that I’ve done what I can to point my boys and those around me to Jesus, then that’s enough.”

    Truly we need grace for ourselves – especially as moms I think! So much is on our shoulders. I’m doing all the decorating, Christmas shopping, and holiday cooking on top of everything else and I’m exhausted (and a little resentful) this year already. I am skipping the tree this year- my one year old would make that a constant battle I’m sure – and all the other decorations are enough. 🙂 Grace. The more we receive – the easier it is to extend I think, too.

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  10. We have simple wooden silhouettes of the nativity we put outdoors every year. We had two sleet storms within a week’s time this December, leaving an icy coating on everything. We pulled into the driveway and the lights caught the Holy Family. “Look at baby Jesus sparkle!” my husband said. Indeed, our simple wooden image shimmered with a glorious glow. Christmas blessings to you and your family, Jeanne.

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