Getting Ready for Christmas

Going to a big family dinner? Spending a quiet day at home? Traveling across the country? Gathering with local single friends? No matter how you plan to spend Christmas, a little preparation will help make it better.

Before you get caught up in the holiday rush, stop and think about your priorities. What is most important this month? How will you show that in what you do? What is key and what is just nice if it works? Is this the year to simply post an Advent calendar for daily family use or the year that the whole family is coming to your house and you want to be ready to welcome them with a festive environment? Will you be traveling, so packing is a priority, or hosting, so meal planning is key? Will you be skipping the gifts and holiday shopping this year and simply resting in the gift of a Savior? Make a list (if you have several things) or post a visual reminder for yourself (if you want to really focus on one or two things) to help you stay on track.

Once you have that down, make a plan. Think about what it will take to fulfill your priority. If giving is key, make your Christmas list. If hosting is your jam, jot down some meal plans. If travel is on the calendar, nail down the timing, reservations, and packing list. If a quiet holiday is for you, prepare for the time of rest. Set yourself up for success rather than hoping everything will work out somehow. Brainstorm enough to be confident you have covered the big stuff.

Finally, block time in your calendar to work your plan. Mark out the path this month so that you know when you need to do what. It may not happen each time, but you will have placeholders and reminders to help you along the way. Adjust as needed and keep walking.

Once you’ve covered your bases, you can relax and enjoy the holiday season!

Start Fresh Now

You know those mornings where the day gets off to a rough start? By noon you’re ready to throw in the towel? Nothing is working, emergencies abound, tempers flare, etc. You’re not even sure why you got out of bed because nothing has been accomplished. The temptation is strong to write off the day as worthless, grab the bag of chocolate chip cookies for consolation, and wait until the next morning’s fresh start to try again. A blank slate is our only hope.

Except it’s not.

Recently a friend encouraged me with some wise insight.¬†Instead of giving up on the day at noon, that’s the cue to stop and regroup. Pause. Pray for grace and wisdom. Seek a proper perspective on the day and a renewed focus. Plant our feet in the Word of God. Remember our priorities and how they direct our work. Remind ourselves of what matters.

Then, having turned our eyes in the right direction, we can walk on confidently and redeem the day. There is still hope. It is not too late. Even now, no matter the hour or what has already happened in the day, we have all we need to love God and love our neighbor and fulfill our callings well.