‘Twas the week before Christmas
And all through our heads
Were shopping lists and to do’s
All bringing much dread
Did I get mom that kerchief?
Did I order dad’s cap?
How about Cindy Lou’s doll?
Oh, God, I need a nap!
So much to do
It’s all such a clatter
I wish I could get back
To the heart of the matter
Cause in a season that’s all
About joy, peace, and hope
Why am I feeling so
Stressed, tired, and broke?
– Cody Vermillion
You guys! Christmas is on Tuesday!
If you’re like me, you’ve tried your darnedest to get everything done before… well… now. But there’s so much to do! So many events, family parties, and church services, etc. that you have to plan for. Even if you get shopping done early, the week before Christmas can still be a beast!
That’s why we want to offer you a gift. Or rather, point you to the gift Jesus offered his disciples in John 14: 27…
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
The Christ of Christmas became the Christ who offered his disciples peace of mind and heart. And he offers us that same gift. Peace that allows us to just slow down. Take a breath. And just. be.
So let’s give ourselves a reprieve from the hustle and bustle. Call it a “Christmas Slow Down”. How? Well… find time in the next few days (every day if you can) to stop and just be. Even if it’s just for 20 or 30 minutes. Don’t do anything that needs to be done. Just be in the moment. Cause here’s the secret… It’s okay if you don’t get everything done. It’s okay if you don’t meet every expectation. Accept the free gift of peace of mind and heart.
And at the same time, give the people you love the gift of your presence. Cause I guarantee the people in your life want the gift of you more than they want a gift from you. And you aren’t you when you’re stressed, tired, and running from one thing to the next trying to meet some unrealistic cultural expectation to “do all the things”.
So maybe this means you mute the notifications and turn off the screens. You might stay home, or maybe go to your favorite place to find rest. Get yourself a warm cup of something and take in the guilt-free joy of slowing down. Or heck, just take a nap. Whatever you need to do to… just don’t let the craziness of the season rob you of the peace it’s meant to bring.
Now, maybe you’re good to go… maybe you’ve already figured this out and have managed to create a stress-free Holiday season for yourself… Awesome! Think of someone in your life who needs to hear these words. Maybe a spouse who you can lift the burden from. Or a friend who is clearly on the verge of a Christmas breakdown. Send this along. Then, go help them slow down. Take them out to coffee. Offer to run some of their errands. Or take some of their to do’s off their plate while they just take a break.
We’re all in this together. Merry Christmas, y’all!