The day after Thanksgiving many of the homes in our neighborhood were all ready clothed in Christmas decor and lights. Our mailbox even presented us with our first Christmas card along with a bazillion catalogs.

I began to feel an anxiousness about the lack of red and green  while the browns and oranges comfortably remained perched in their seasonal spot.

One of my Facebook friends mentioned she was done Christmas shopping, My stomach tightened and my heart skipped a beat. Me? I hadn’t even started a list.

When the calendar flipped to December my home transitioned to Christmas. I took some comfort in the fact I was only one week behind my neighbors. The tree is up. The lights are on. The stockings are hung. I have even done a little gift shopping.

Every year I think I’m going to do Christmas differently. I remind myself  to look up. Stop. Inhale. Exhale. Enjoy time with family and friends. Remember the reason for the season.

So… I am daily choosing to  reject the rush.  Instead I want to push franticness aside and replace it with peace that comes from a heavenly perceptive. Granted, it’s easier said than done.  I need to be, I want to be OK with what I accomplish and with what I don’t. 

Are you like me? Do you want to keep the holidays –and life– in their proper perspective? Here are three values that have helped me to focus. Perhaps they will help you too.

  •  People are more important than stuff.
  •  People are more important than chores, cooking, and cleaning.
  •  People are more important than my iPhone or screen time.

Here are 7 ways I can live out those values:

1. Plan times to hang out with family and friends. Commit them to the calendar. Then do it.
2. Divide up the household chores and errands. Distribute the responsibilities.
3. Create a no phone  and no screen zone space and time.
4. Avoid the joy stealing competition of  comparison that plays in my mind.
5. Whittle down the yeses to God’s best for me, my time, and my family.
6. Be OK with good enough. Avoid catching the perfection infection.
7. Keep some white space on the calendar so I have some margin to serve or engage.

I’m choosing be present with family and friends…and whomever else the Lord would show me.

And for this holiday season, to Martha who lives in my head…I don’t want you to leave, I just want you to move over a bit because I really want to have a Mary Christmas. 

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13Parenting.com. She has written 5 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home. and her most recent book The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family ConnectionsContact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.