A few weeks ago, right before falling asleep, I began stressing about the holidays. It was the strangest thing, because it is my favorite time of year.
I was thinking about to do lists, travel plans, family dynamics and how busy the next month could potentially be.
Then I read this blog post, which put my mind at ease.
This season isn’t one that has to be stressful or busy. We choose for it to be that way. The great expectations I had placed upon myself weren’t required.
The author presented a challenge: “Write down everything you feel like you MUST do this holiday season, and then prioritize. What do you actually have to do? What things are simply extra expectations you feel like you should do? Consider how you can simplify a bit this season.”
What will this season look like? I’ve broken it down into what’s expected (by me because of “tradition”) and how I am going to try and give myself grace, to truly embrace the season, for what it is, a focus on the 1st coming of Jesus.
Great Expectation #1: Christmas cards to family & friends
Grace Expectation: A blog post with life updates shared on social media & via email is much more realistic and even enjoyable for me to put together!
Great Expectation #2: Decorations up/down by a certain time
Grace Expectation: Making time to decorate because I’m excited to do it and enjoying it for as long as desired.
Great Expectation #3: The pressure to purchase the perfect gift/Spend a certain amount of $$
Grace Expectation: Our family has chosen since last year to gift via family versus individually, which helps with the focus on quality and not burdening anyone financially. I won’t feel compelled to gift someone just because they gift me because I have to be realistic about what I can afford and find other ways to show appreciation.
Great Expectation #4: Filling the calendar with holiday events
Grace Expectation: This introvert loves people, but the thought of multiple gatherings is exhausting. The focus will be on striking a balance between the desire to interact/participate in social traditions, with the perfect & valid desire to stay indoors and watch a Christmas movie.
Great Expectation #5: Being able to see everyone when traveling
Grace Expectation: I always try to pack many visits into trips back to the Midwest. My time is always precious, so I know I need to focus on seeing who I am able to and enjoying the time instead of rushing around. This makes me thankful for technology to connect during the season.
As we officially enter into this holiday season, I very much look forward to trimming the tree, listening to my favorite Christmas songs and engaging with some of my favorite traditions.
My hope is that in it all, my focus will be on embracing God’s grace and anticipating his greatest love, Jesus, the truest reason for celebrating the season.
How will you add grace to your holiday expectations this season?