Gratitude Day 537

Fri., Nov. 26, 2020

James 1:12 – If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!

Dear Friend –

Let’s try something in 2020. We all know that nothing about this year is normal anyways. So, let’s rethink the next few weeks. Can we please walk towards Christmas this year … rather than live in a dead run?

This is a time of the year that often is filled with TOO. MANY. THINGS. This space between Thanksgiving and Christmas is often a frantic pace. Shopping. Cards. Cookies. Parties. Decorating. Overspending. Navigating multiple family celebrations. Overeating. Overindulging. Seriously, over everything.

Most of these things are generally good. We do them and put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make everything JUST. RIGHT.

How do I know this?

Because I live it.

I know that I say this every year. I want to take a different approach in 2020.  I’m going to be uber vigilant. Less doing between now and Christmas. More being. Less demands ad expectations. More picking only the absolute best.

Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, I spent a chunk of the day putting up Christmas decorations. Rick was working on a house project. The two of us were perfectly content to spend time doing what we wanted.

Late afternoon, I made the comment, “Why does everything take so much longer than I expect?”

I thought it was a rhetorical question. I’m not sure I expected an answer. But Rick said, “If you don’t like doing it, then why are you?”

Good question.

Thanksgiving morning, I had some J.S.T time. Just Sit There time. Thinking. Trying to listen. Surrendering myself to God one more time. I knew my to-do list for the day was once again too ambitious. But I wanted to create space for my soul before I ran into everything else, I wanted to do.

I thought about why I do certain things. Do I enjoy them? Do I want to do more of this? What things should I stop doing?

Very little got flushed out, which was OK. But we need to hit the pause button. Slow down. Evaluate. Listen.

When I shifted right back into Martha-mode and wondered why putting up Christmas decorations become a “job,” I needed to hear Rick’s words. Contemplate whether I’m decorating for the right reasons or the wrong reasons. Our conversation on this topic took less than 60 seconds. But Rick was spot on. I needed to get my attitude in the right spot.

This is what happens with the holidays. We do a lot of things because we feel we SHOULD do them. I’ve done this a million times.

What if 2020 was different this year?

Many of the “normal” things we do running up to the holidays will not happen this year. Or be highly modified. Our commitments are already drastically reduced. But if you are anything like me, I’m actually more constructive with time when I have more going then when I don’t.

So, what should be our focus this Christmas? This is a question for all of us to answer individually. Yet here are a few suggestions.

  • A lot less Christmas shopping for those who have everything they need. For the last number of years, I have scaled back Christmas shopping. This year? It’s getting chopped even more. Just our grandkids and great-nieces and nephews. We’ll pick up a couple tags at the local giving tree. But the rest? Just not doing it. I know this sounds harsh and maybe not possible for you. (I don’t doubt there will be times when I’ll waver on this …)
  • I’m baking favorites. That’s it.
  • Forgoing big parties and celebrations. It’s just not a brilliant thing to do right now. Make the time special, even if it’s just you and one other person. Hubby Rick and I ate our Thanksgiving meal by ourselves. And it was JUST. FINE.
  • Over everything. Scale it back. Stop it. Decide it’s just not that important.

What might you consider doing instead?

  • Find a family or families that really are in need and help them. Not sure where to find out who needs help? Ask a school counselor. Take tags off of a giving treat. Ask a trust person who has connections. There are tons of folks out there who are struggling. If possible, find a way to help them.
  • Donate to your local food pantry or food program. Check with them and see if they prefer money or specific items.
  • Pick up the phone and call someone on your Christmas list that you haven’t spoken with in over a year. Have a real conversation with them.
  • Make up little goodie bags and do a porch drop off with people who are alone, struggling and/or need a boost. Put what you want into the bags: cookies, fruit, hand sanitizer, etc. Bless someone with a little care package.
  • For the presents that you absolutely must get, find a local retailer to support. I know it’s really easy to hop online and simply have the boxes show up. I’ve done more online shopping in the last 10 months than I prefer. Local business really need support. A gift certificate from such a business is also a great option.
  • Find a fun, creative way to share a bit of the Christmas story with those you care for the most.

We’re all trying to figure out how to “do” the holidays this year. We know it’s going to be different. Let’s make it intentional. Deeply meaningful. Special because everything we chose to do was something that brought us great joy and we absolutely loved.

Thanks for reading along my friend. Have a great day.

For the reminder to only do things I love to do and do them with great joy, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything right? Perfect? Better? Open my heart and mind to new thinking about the holidays right now. Speak to me in a profound way so I clearly hear You in my life. Amen.

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