Note from Crystal: Rachel's post kicks off a short series we'll be doing here over the next few days on Celebrating a Simple Christmas. I'll be sharing some of the things our family is doing, baking, and making to enjoy
this special time of year while keeping it very simple. I hope the
ideas shared will be an inspiration and encouragement to all of you to
slow down and focus on what really matters this season.
Guest Post by Rachel from Small Notebook
We are simplifying our Christmas this year, finding ways to celebrate that aren't costly or emotionally draining. It feels amazingly free to let go of obligations, not try to do it all, and focus on the traditions that our family enjoys most.
When I shared about this recently, my friend Megan responded:
So am I reading this right that you might possibly NOT be sending Christmas cards this year? Because I so want freedom from Christmas cards. Can I opt out? It would be the second year in a row. Am I a bad person/friend?
Okay let me be honest: I haven't sent Christmas cards since 1995.
Do I feel guilty? Not really.
It's so easy to wonder and worry:
- Will friends still like me?
- Will they think that I am unorganized?
- What if they send me a card, but I don't send one to them?
Sometimes Christmas seems like putting on a show. It's wearisome, and it leaves us wanting more.
I've been thinking about what a simple Christmas would be like for us, and together with my husband we have chosen some things to cut back on.
This means I won't get to act like Martha and show off my amazing skills. (Which is a good thing, considering my past kitchen disasters.)
More and more, I have to remember that Christmas is not about me. It's not about what I can do, what I can make, or how organized I can be.
If our Christmas is to resemble the way that Christ came to this earth, then we need to take a step back. The way Jesus was born was humble. It wasn't a spectacular show. It wasn't a production. I want my Christmas to reflect that, so I can dwell on him this season.
If I don't send cards this year, or have a huge pile of gifts to pass out, or fill up my kitchen with cookies, it will be okay. It could be more than okay–joyful even.
I will assume my friends will be understanding and gracious, and they will still like me, even without cards. Benefit of the doubt is a gracious gift: it makes it so much easier to live with others. When you give benefit of the doubt to others, you are saying, "I am looking at the best in you."
When you receive it from others, it means, "I don't need to be perfect, or try to look like it."
Jesus said, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30 NIV), and I am convinced that goes for the holidays too.
May you have a blessed, peaceful, and guilt-free holiday season.
Rachel Meeks writes about making a simple and peaceful home. To read more about having a "Come As You Are" Christmas without the frenzy, visit Small Notebook.
Is your family proactively doing anything this year to keep Christmas simple? If so, please tell us about it in the comments section!
photo by Lili Vieira de Carvalho