Friday, November 29, 2013

Keeping Christmas Simple

Hey Friend,

The pots, pans and mountain of dishes had been washed and were drying in the sink.  My fiancĂ© and my daughter's boyfriend were already heavy into football.  The turkey's l- tryptophans had settled in and so my son and the two dogs were peacefully dozing with full stomachs.  I had my feet, finally, propped up and was taking in my satisfied brood.  Ahhh, yes, this was Thanksgiving!

About then, my daughter's question cut into the peaceful calm.  "So, are you going to decorate for Christmas tomorrow?" she queried.  Everyone else remained still and calm, but I felt my heart start to flutter.  I could feel the anxiety begin to creep throughout my body.  I'm certain my blood pressure took a sudden leap. "Uhh...well...I don't know...I guess so," I managed.

I was looking for a lifesaver to hold onto my sanity.  Silence.  And then it came to me, "You know, I'm really busy planning my wedding in January," I said as the words started to flow, "and I have various contractors coming to work on the house in December, and your brother is moving back in, and Christmas is just going to have to be really simple this year."  There I said it.  I had my excuse.  Christmas was going to be really simple this year!

Why did I feel like I needed an excuse to keep Christmas simple?  Maybe, because in boxes in my attic, I have the ability to do christmas...or I have the potential to do CHRISTMAS!!!  Though my heart yearns to keep Christmas simple, the world screams for bigger, better, bolder CHRISTMAS!

In reality, I don't need an excuse to lower my blood pressure and keep Christmas simple, if I take my cues from the Christmas story in the Bible.  In Luke 2:1-20, Luke, the wordiest of the disciples, tells the entire Christmas story in twenty verses.  An event that was foretold for centuries, is relayed simply in one portion of one chapter in the whole Bible.

I encourage you to read this passage as we begin the Advent season, as we begin preparing our hearts for Christ's coming.  Take in the simplicity of the setting.  Mary and Joseph were doing the ordinary things of life.  They were going to register for taxes.  Along the way they found refuge in the only place that was not full that night - a cave-like shelter where the animals were kept.  The only warmth was offered by the animals bodies and their breath.  This tiny babe was wrapped in simple cloths and laid to rest on hay in a feeding trough.
The angels first announced His birth to the simplest of men - the shepherds and they offered "Peace". 

Perhaps my favorite line is found in Luke 2: 19, "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

Mary's response to birthing this God-child, was simple and sincere...she treasured and she pondered.

This Christmas I want to keep Christmas simple, not because I have a ready made excuse, but because I want to take my cues from scripture and like Mary, I want to take time for reflection and to treasure up all these things and ponder them in my heart.

To do this, I will have to be like the salmon swimming upstream against the CHRISTMAS the world wants me to get sucked into.  I will have to be purposeful in making time to treasure and ponder.  I will have to let the simple be good enough...

After all, simple was good enough for Christ...

What are you purposefully doing, or not doing in order to keep Christmas simple?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

In His love,

Bev

ps.  All subscribers in November and December will be entered to win prizes as I prepare to celebrate my one year blogging anniversary.  Leave a thought or idea on keeping Christmas simple in the "Comments" section and I will enter your name as well. 









12 comments :

  1. Thanks Bev for reminding me that I can keep Christmas simple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I write this, I am writing to myself. I need lots of reminding! May we both focus on Him this Christmas season!
      Blessings,
      Bev

      Delete
  2. Well dear friend I'm so glad I came back in to read this as THIS was needed. I've been feeling the pressure of feeling I needed to do more for Christmas while also knowing I really need to keep it simple. I'm okay with simple but loved how you referred us back to scripture...like you always do. More than ever I have the desire to truly take in what this Advent season is all about, which is why I do actually plan to take the last two weeks of December off from blogging. The time off to be with HIM is needed.
    Thinking of you and praying for you. This had me wanting to pick up the phone to catch up!!!
    Love you and {Hugs},
    Beth

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beth,
    Yes, we DO need to take time off to be with Him!! It is hard to block out the world to prepare our hearts for His coming, but we are blessed when we do so. Keeping Christmas simple is my first purposeful act for giving my heart time to ponder. Sharing with you the desire to take in what this Advent season is all about!
    Love and ((hugs)),
    Bev

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Bev,

    I just read your comment from (in)courage today, and then decided to read your blog. This is hitting me to keep Christmas simple. I am feeling overwhelmed with family situations, and have two little boys. When I think about this more, the best things I can do is spend time with Jesus, and then do simple things with my two and three year old. This will be manageable, and really this simple approach is what the boys will remember. A loving, relaxed mom, who is being intentional with the things that matter. Spending time with them, directing them to our Savior. Frankly that is all the energy I have now too, so it is not only good enough, but what is needed.

    Blessings Bev,

    Joanne Peterson

    BTW, you look so young to have children and experiences you've described. Jesus living and good genes. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joanne,
      You hit the nail on the head...the best thing you can do is spend time with Jesus and do simple things with your two and three year old. They will remember, much more, loving time spent with you than big to dos! A loving relaxed mom is far better than one who is stressed out over Christmas. It's in our quiet, intentional moments that we can point their hearts toward their Savior. I think you have a good recipe...I will pray for you!
      Blessings,
      Bev
      ps. thank you for your kind words :)

      Delete
  5. I meant to say this before, I will be praying for your situation with your son. I have a daughter who is struggling too. The Lord is in this too, even though this is not what you would have chosen for your son. The Lord in different ways has let me know this truth.

    Joanne Peterson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joanne,
      Obviously from my post on (in)courage, yesterday was a terrible day. Reading your comments brought tears to my eyes and was a balm to my weary soul! Thank you SO much for your prayers...I appreciate them more than you know!
      Always,
      Bev

      Delete
    2. You have been on my mind today Bev. I feel compelled to give you a scripture that has spoken to me when I have been struggling with the pain of my daughter's choices. We are still moms and watching our children make choices like this is difficult to watch.

      I have great comfort from this verse in the Amplified. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

      I am so drawn to the last phrase "in your final outcome." I know the Lord is working in your life and in your son's life and will use these painful choices to mold your son into the Godly man the Lord already sees in your son. He'll keep on working even though the externals look like otherwise. A mighty battle is being fought for your son behind the scenes.

      Blessings,

      Joanne Peterson

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Joanne, you have been a real blessing to me!! Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite of mine and I DO like the Amplified version. I am attempting to really trust in God's vision and final outcome for my son. Some days I do better than other days...Our God is able!! Thanks for your encouragement, thoughts and prayers!
      Blessings,
      Bev

      Delete
  6. Hi Bev, I'd like to give you a picture of the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace. A teaching from LWCC by Lynn Hammond gave me something I will never forget.

    I am not always good at this and have better days than others, but this is valuable.

    We think of peace as just fluffy and just a feeling. We can put on peace as a choice. In Ephesians, the Roman soldier used his shoes as an offensive and defensive weapon. They were put on and tied up, they had three inch spikes and were used for walking, they kept the footing of the soldier solid and from slipping when marching over distances over any terrain.

    They were used for planting their feet firmly without moving when fighting in battle, it would be very difficult to fall in battle thus keeping the soldier alive. Even when the enemy was coming at him, it was very difficult to be over-powered firmly fighting against the enemy with his sword.

    The sandals were also used as a death blow by kicking the enemy in the face. They were lethal.

    We are in waiting and fighting by breaking down the strongholds with our prayers, 2Cor10:3-5. The word wait means "twisted like a rope" Jesus spoke to me that I/You are twisted with Christ and anything that comes has to get through Christ first who is our shield and protector and He is waiting with us, fighting for us and our kids.

    Didn't mean to give you a sermon Bev, just wanted to give you this view of warfare that encourages me. I just think of this often when I am feeling discouraged.

    Blessings,

    Joanne Peterson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joanne,
      This was REALLY encouraging to me. I do need to choose to put on my sandals of peace and sometimes just stand, knowing that Christ waits with me and will fight for me and my son - I need only to be still. Thank you so much for your concern, prayers and Godly advice!!
      Blessings,
      Bev

      Delete