Simplicity of Christmas

Simplicity becomes difficult to grasp during the Christmas season. Unfortunately we start to see decorations in stores before November even begins. We feel this pressure that we are behind if we don’t start decorating before Thanksgiving. Instead of enjoying the moments of thankfulness for family, friends, and the meal placed before us, we rush our way through the day, so we can hit the stores to get the “best deal”. We are made to believe that we might miss out if we don’t rush. This so-called Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which both have now become a weeklong event, are not designed for us. They’re designed for the big corporations to make money. They don’t care if we don’t have the money; just charge it!! Well, the credit cards we used to buy these great deals make out because we pay interest on it for years! There goes that great 50% off deal!

is it so hard in our culture to slow down? Why can’t we just slow down and enjoy the reason for the season?  Have you ever just sat and watched a classic Christmas movie?  These movies are about making life simple and enjoying the gifts of life. How about enjoying time with family and friends, driving through neighborhoods and looking at the Christmas lights, baking homemade cookies, making hand-made gifts, mailing Christmas cards (signed in your own handwriting) and singing Christmas carols at your neighbor’s door? What about setting aside time to read the Christmas story straight from the Bible, where it all began in the first place?

Take a moment now and think about that.  We have turned this season of giving from the heart into a month of running ourselves ragged, running from one store to the next to get the best deal. We comparison shop on-line for hours and often end up buying things for ourselves, things that don’t really matter. We make it about the TO-DO list instead of the celebration. 

Let me make it clear, this is not intended to be “bah-humbug” article. I will confess this one of my favorite holidays. I loved it as a kid, and I love it now as I watch it through the eyes of my children and grandchildren.  I believe in the magic of Christmas.  I love to transform my house into a winter wonderland, with stockings hanging over the fireplace, decorating the tree with my children, ending my day with turning all the lights off, except for the Christmas tree lights, and relaxing with a cup of hot tea.

I love the Christmas lights shining bright on homes at night, and the greeting of “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” from strangers you pass. I love all this! What I don’t enjoy is the pressure and stress of just ‘getting through’ this season.  I want to experience and savor every moment. To me, the simplified version is what I want to hold onto so I can cherish these moments in time. I have found my joy in simplicity.

So here is what I plan on doing this Christmas season:

I am letting go of perfection. I have found that a simple smile reduces stress in the moment. I won’t worry if I don’t finish my decorations around the house, or my cookies don’t look perfect. I will do my best to shop from the heart and give gifts that have meaning.  I won’t overspend just to please others. I will stop and find joy in all the preparations and I promise to not get caught up when things don’t go as I had planned. 

I will remember that this time a year isn’t about the gifts, events, parties, and other stressful stuff. I will take each day leading up to Christmas and give myself the opportunity to prepare from my heart. When we force ourselves to slow down, we make the choice to be at peace and to experience true joy, and only then will we truly discover the simplicity of Christmas.

Merry Christmas from my heart to yours!

The True Meaning of Christmas
In today’s day and time,
It’s easy to lose sight,
Of the true meaning of Christmas
And one special night.

When we go shopping,
We say, “How much will it cost?”
Then the true meaning of Christmas,
Somehow becomes lost.

Amidst the tinsel, glitter
And ribbons of gold,
We forget about the child,
Born on a night so cold.

The children look for Santa
In his big, red sleigh
Never thinking of the child
Whose bed was made of hay.

In reality,
When we look into the night sky,
We don’t see a sleigh
But a star, burning bright and high.

A faithful reminder,
Of that night so long ago,
And of the child we call Jesus,
Whose love the world would know.

–Brian K Walters

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