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,


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.