Editor’s Note: While this column is written by a minister’s wife, the article is applicable to anyone, man or woman, who feels stress during the Christmas season.
So many parties, so many “bring a small gift” gatherings, the “can you bring a dessert?” We love to celebrate the Christmas season, and we should. It is the birthday of my King: let us never forget what that means.
No doubt like me, you love and have loved the church families that God has called you to be a part of, but the expectations during the holiday season can be endless, my present church and most of those where we have served excluded.
Most of the time I have lived under an umbrella of grace regarding the expectations of the holiday season and expectations of me in general.
This all might sound ungrateful: the intention is not that. We have served in different capacities at small and large churches, so we bring many different experiences to the table.
Imagine this: It’s Dec. 24th. You are tired. You have been to no less than three adult Christmas parties, the children’s musical, the youth party, the choir musical and made sure that all secretaries and other appropriate staff got a small token, well deserved for their tireless servanthood.
One year while serving at a larger church, the secretarial/assistant staff was around thirty individuals. You have tried to decorate your house but given up thinking, “Well, less is better, right?”
You now find yourself able to relax and enjoy your own private family time, but you find yourself exhausted! You just want to go to bed for at least two days. But now your own family, the ones that are nearest and dearest, may get the leftover you. You hope that you remembered their personal gifts, as well as those for your childrens’ teachers and friends. There’s the food and all other special traditions that make things joyous for your nest. You have probably been to Walmart no less than twice a week since Nov. 1.
All you really can think though is, “Could we just eat some Chick-Fil-A for our Christmas meal?” If you look at one more dessert, you might actually go on the diet that is now very necessary.
Hear me out. Some of our most precious memories are of church events, spending time getting to know our friends better. Right now, I am part of a wonderful small group of ladies that expects nothing from me. They let me be me.
When our daughters were in middle and late elementary school, God called us away from a wonderful larger church to a small church in the country. We wondered why God would call us away from new programs, many event opportunities offered to the youth, just as ours were reaching that age.
For our family personally, this was somewhat disappointing, but after we settled in, those years were some of the best.
That church family embraced our daughters as they went through middle and high school. We all know how ministry can be difficult on staff children, but ours thrived during those years because of the love they were shown by that church that became truly family to us.
If any of this rings a bell (no Christmas pun intended), how do you not only just get through the holiday season, but keep some sense of peace and sanity?
Here are some ideas that have helped me:
• Begin in the Fall to gather small gifts for all those teacher, secretary type gifts expected. Shop sales, and always have one extra for the unexpected. Look for useable gifts instead of another mug.
• Make lists or a Pinterest board of your easy favorite recipes. Start having the staples for those on hand. Think easy, fast recipes.
• Let some things go. There’s no shame in paper plates. I may or may not have stuffed things in the refrigerator or dryer and washing machine when guests were coming.
• Consider buying chickens, Bibles, water for a family or other type items through Samaritan’s Purse or the IMB. Personally, I need nothing. I love the idea of fresh water for a family instead of another sweater. Our children got on board with this, and it changes perspective.
• Give yourself a “not feeling well, just can’t make it” way out of at least one event. Sometimes those kids are helpful with this plan. Since I am a grandmother, I can pull the “my daughter needs me to babysit” card. Choose wisely. Never hurt feelings, but we all know that at some events no one really cares if you were there or not.
Christmas is the best time of year. Busyness is one of Satan’s easiest traps. Don’t let the holiday events dictate every moment. I will never get over Jesus’s birth, death on the cross and resurrection. We need to celebrate that all year long but especially at Christmas.
Celebrate the holiday season so that in January we can have some sense of rest and peace, ready for a new year. Peace is only found in Jesus, so make time for your family to dwell and celebrate in Jesus. B&R — McBroom is a teacher and wife of Robert McBroom, pastor of Point Pleasant Baptist Church, Buchanan.