Simplifying Christmas

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Some years my Christmas prep and decorations are over the top. Everything is decorated!

Every room,

every inch,

every tree.

But then there are other years when I have to give myself a little chance to relax the decor and the time I put into getting my home into the holiday spirit.

This is one of those years.  We have had a very busy schedule.  We’ll be out of town some days, and we have events in the calendar that are going to fill the time from morning to night.  I also headed up a big event at church that took me away from home a good bit in order to prepare.

So, I decided this was a year to simplify .  If you walked into my house it would look like Christmas, even though there’s no tree up.  I have put touches of decor here and there over most of the house.  But to find time to do the tree, just wasn’t going to happen.  My baking has been scaled down, too, and instead of having tons of goodies on hand, I’ll prepare what I need just before the event.

This simplifying has been so helpful, but to be honest, I had to come to grips with it!  Can we say Guilt?  Wondering if my family would wonder what’s wrong with me was one thought.  But when I stopped to realize that I need to do what will help me focus on the most important part – the birth of Christ, I understood that it really is okay, and I knew my family would be good with it, too.

A less stressed me is better than a tree!

It’s a small sacrifice, really, but it has helped me to be able to do other things, and I look forward to the rest of this month and will be able to celebrate just as heartily without the evergreen standing in my family room!

Don’t get caught up in what you feel obligated to do.  If you need to simplify your prep this year, it may possibly be the best gift you can give to your family!

I posted a video last year about other ways to simplify Christmas.  I hope it will give you some ideas to help you make the most of these special days as we treasure the wonder of Christ coming to earth to die for our sins.

How about you?  Do you need to let go of some of your own set expectations?  You’ll be surprised how that will lighten your load and help you to focus on Christ this Christmas!

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Family Friday – What To do With Unfulfilled Expectations

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Most little girls grow up playing house with a cute, tiny kitchen set and china dishes filled with sugar water in tiny cups.  We imagine we’re married to Prince Charming who is our adoring husband.  We cradle a baby doll and we coo, and cuddle and kiss its plastic face as though it was the soft, supple skin of a newborn.  We pretend and we anticipate the day when all those dreamed-up situations will come to pass.

Those little girls grow up into womanhood, but then face the disturbing fact that one or more of those childhood rehearsals that they dreamed about never come to fruition.  It might be that a woman…

  • Is still waiting to find her Prince Charming.  It’s easy to feel that “everyone else has a husband, except for me.” She attends and participates in the weddings of all her close friends, but wonders when it will be her turn to find Mr. Right.  That longing can make that woman feel lonely, left out, unwanted or unloved.  Her expectation of being married is unfulfilled.
    Or she
  • Is married, but her husband isn’t the Prince Charming she’d dreamed about.  He doesn’t lead their home spiritually. He is apathetic about God.  He doesn’t help with the children or the house.  He doesn’t listen when she speaks.  He isn’t at all what she thought he would be. She can feel disappointed, trapped, frustrated and even angry.  Her expectation of marriage is unfulfilled.
    Or she
  • Is happily married, but God hasn’t given her a child. The questions and comments from others about “When are you going to have a baby?” Or “You look so natural holding that baby, why don’t you make one?” hurt no less than a dagger in the heart.  She feels unfulfilled, empty, less than a woman, and maybe bitter towards those that hurt her with their words, or even with God. Her expectation of motherhood hasn’t been met.

What is a woman to do in any of these scenarios?

  1. Realize that because there is nothing you can do to change your situation, your total dependence must be upon God.  This is the very best place to be!  The truth is, this describes every woman, no matter her marital status or the number of children she bears.  Satan likes to magnify what we don’t have, so we won’t focus on what we DO have, which is sooooo much!
  2. Get to know God’s character – Who He is.  (Loving, Good, omnipresent, omniscient, faithful, unchanging…) Then you can look at your situation with a right view of God and what He can do in your life!
  3. Take your expectations to Him in prayer and give them up.  Open your hands and surrender your singleness, your husband, or your barrenness to the Lord.  Do this until you’re really ready to let God do what He knows is best.
  4. Transfer all your expectations from the dating service, or nagging your husband, or your plans to leave him until he changes,  or your idea to fix your barrenness, and turn and put those expectations on your mighty God instead.  Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  He will never disappoint you.  He will never keep from you what He knows is best.

This week I was struggling with a personal situation and worrying over what might happen if this event took place. It made me afraid and weepy.  Then a dear, godly friend said to me,

If we could see what God sees,
we would want exactly what He has planned because His plan is perfect.

This is where faith steps in.  We look with eyes of faith to an unknown future and what our good God will do and we stop trying to make our plan work!  This changed my attitude!  I knew she was right!
If we believe this, we will wait for God to bring a man into our lives, or to give us peace about singleness.
We will stop trying to be the Holy Spirit in our husband’s life. and we will trust Him to make the changes necessary in him.
We will expect God to do a work that will turn out for my good and His glory, whether or not that includes a baby.
This is what “putting our expectation on Him” looks like!

Then and only then will the feelings described in each of those situations become hope-filled and joyful instead!  Then each woman can say with the psalmist in Psalm 42 –

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?
hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him,
who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

If one of these scenes describes you, my friend, I want to encourage your heart today that God knows what He is doing, and if you knew what He was up to, you would be full of hope, too!  Throw all your expectations on Him and you’ll not be disappointed!

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