So how can things be different this year? How do we walk (and not run) through this time of year and come to the end of 2016 with restful and joyful hearts so we can begin 2017 the same way? I have three simple ways we can make it work.
1) Be Intentional
We certainly won’t survive the holiday season without some planning. But you don’t have to be an uber-planner with color-coded charts and alarms set on your phones. You just have to have to make choices and create a basic plan for what’s really important to you and your family. Whatever your preparations, make a plan, and then be truly present in the moment.
2) Make Room & Remove Distractions
To say “yes” to what is important, we must say “no” to things that are less important. During this busy time of year, and especially during this Advent, make it a point to avoid all events that detract or distract from the true reason for the season. Advent, especially, requires a quiet and reflective atmosphere in our hearts, homes, and lifestyle. Make the choice to eliminate those activities that break down that quiet and reflective atmosphere.
3) Keep It Simple — Go Deep, Not Wide
Finally, keep celebrations simple and meaningful. Find your simple, and be authentic to yourself and your family. We sometimes try to celebrate the season with too many preparations and uphold dozens of traditions, and then at the end of December, we don’t really come away with beautiful memories, just blurry snippets of festivities and the physical signs of exhaustion that must mean we were busy doing something. In discerning how to best spend your personal and family time and energy, focus on going deep, not wide. The whole point is not that we celebrated with flourish and style; the point is that we got closer to Christ during this season and that He saturates our lives and our homes so that He continues to reign in our hearts long after the Advent and Christmas season are over. Then we can truly say that we experienced Advent with no regrets.
By Deborah Gretzinger