One Urgent Question You Must Ask Yourself Before This Holiday Season

Winter is coming 'round the bend full force.

And not because the weather has turned blustery and brisk.

It's just that all of a sudden, November's half over.  And I'm not ashamed to say that thanks to the marvels of relaxed online shopping, almost all of the kiddos' gifts are bought.  

Yes, indeed.  

And as of this evening, the lights are twinkling bright in the windows.


'Cause Christmas preparation starts early around here.  I just don't like the pressure that December brings.  Not one bit.  So I give myself plenty of unfrenzied time and gentle space to prepare.


Because that frantically frenetic pace is beginning, very slowly but oh-so-surely.  And if we're not careful, we'll be caught in that powerful annual undertow that will leave us exhausted and spent before December 25th makes its sacred arrival.  

The catalogs are beginning to cram the mailbox half full.  The glossy pages are sporting red plaid articles of clothing that you'd never be caught dead wearing.  Lavishly decorated felt stockings and toys galore, expensive munchies and enough knit sweaters to sink a ship beckon with each flip of the page.

Stores are clearing out the last tired remnants of anything orange or autumnal, and shelves are filling to overflowing with red and green and shiny objects that demand you open your wallet and tote them home.  And even as we speak, the endless jolly Christmas music and incessant TV commercial shouting loud about the ideal presents are making their 24 / 7 debut.

And before we know it, we're going to be bombarded with demands and lists, opportunities and invitations.  And yet this one simple question works for me.  It whispers quietly yet persistently, just begging to be asked.

What's essential?

The answer to these two words will be the key to our stress-less delight and His sacred honor this year.  It's a meaningful question that's meant to be calmly pondered somewhere deep and still.  There's no one right or wrong answer, no one-size-fits-all.

Because the most necessary gift isn't one we're going to find under the tree come December 25th.  It's the priceless gift we choose to give ourselves.

The lovely ability to say with a gentle confidence, 'yes, please' or 'no thanks' to each request that calls our name.

For all of us who are prone to be people-pleasers, this is a hard one ... especially this time of year.  But let's encourage each other to not waste valuable time wringing our hands, fretting over the endless expectations people will so readily place on us.  A gracious setting of boundaries will only help us keep our sanity and lend us a calm focus and a peace-fueled serenity that will truly enable us to truly cherish this coming season.

So may we seek out solitude before we're swallowed alive by our jam-packed calendars.  May the Spirit give us discernment to figure out what to claim and what to release.  May we be sweetly gutsy and simply brave enough to let our 'yes' be 'yes' and our 'no' be 'no,' so that His nativity season will shine bright and meaningful, yet restful and uplifting.

And may we graciously allow others the same guilt-trip free space to make their own decisions.

We each get to figure out what is truly essential so that we can say, with hearts overflowing with adoration, 'Happy Birthday, Jesus.'  With a relaxed joy and plenty of time to savor this one truth ...

It truly is all about Him.

Dear friend, what do you want to say 'yes' to?

And ... what just might need to go?


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