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Knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement from a Christian perspective is my goal. I post a weekly commentary, which could be about world events or the events of my week. Other days I might share stories, recipes, homemaking tips, book reviews, political talk, biblical truth, or other blogs and websites I like. This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

SIMPLIFY THE SEASON

This is the first I've been inspired to write since taking a break in late summer. Don't you love the weeks leading up to Christmas? I guess not everyone does. I hear so many complaints about having so much to do and so little time. Some people get very stressed out at this time of year. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Simplicity helps me to enjoy the pre-Christmas rush. I'm finding that the more I simplify my life the more I enjoy it. The less pressure I put on myself, the more I can live in the moment and enjoy what's happening now instead of fretting about all I have yet to do. I can listen to my children without distraction, have time to do things for myself, and recognize the needs of others then do something to help.

One of the keys to simplicity is to love people and not things. Especially at Christmas we get so caught up in making things perfect. We want to find the perfect gifts, decorate our homes like Martha would, wrap the presents with style, and buy the perfect outfit for every event. We wear ourselves out on all the pretty details then have no energy to enjoy the company.

I simplified my tree this year. Instead of dragging out all the boxes of ornaments, I pulled apart some cotton balls and covered the tree with snow. My Christmas card list isn't what it used to be. Only people who've been a meaningful part of my life will get a card this year. I didn't spend much time searching for gifts. And I'm planning to wrap them all with my friend Tam. We're going to make tacos, play Christmas music and sip cocoa or hot tea. My wrapping paper isn't color-coordinated and I won't pay much attention to making perfect creases or disguising the tape. I'll be too busy enjoying the company of my good friend.

Simplifying things frees up our time so we can magnify the people in our lives. Some people have it backwards. They magnify the things and simplify the people. Then they wonder why they feel so worn out and unhappy. My fondest memories of Christmas are not about how pretty the packages were wrapped or how my mom decorated the house.

What I remember is sitting on the stairs Christmas morning, whispering with my sister and brothers, impatiently waiting for Mom and Dad to wake up. I remember caroling on a snowy night in Pillow. I remember how my Dad loved egg nog. And the excitement of Christmas Eve when one by one we were allowed to open just one of our gifts. It's the company that I remember, not so much the things.

Of course festive things do help to make Christmas special. Ribbon candy has a special place in my memories and the warm flickering glow of a candle-lit church as we sang Silent Night. Christmas without candles, music, decorations and lit up trees is hard to imagine. But if we're over-stressed this time of year, we might be investing too much in those things. Simplify the season and have more time for the people you love.

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