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Every year during the Christmas season, I hear some women say, “I’ll be glad when it’s over.”

Just yesterday, a friend said it because she was doing the family Christmas party marathon. Divorced parents meant way too many get-togethers with way too much food preparation and not enough time at home to enjoy a “silent night”.

I love Christmas but I was ready for the Santa tradition to be over. I just wanted all of my children to know that Hot Pastor and I chose their gifts with love. I was tired of going to such length to keep the secret.

I don’t remember all of the history of Christmas traditions- the tree especially. I know about Saint Nicholas. I get the whole gift giving tradition, but I’m just thinking out loud with you about real Christmas.

I’m not smart but I google.

The word Christmas is two words. The second part, “mas” or “mass” means the celebration of communion- the Lord’s Supper. I am married to a pastor and I know that communion is a celebration of the sacrificial death of Jesus.

Whether we are celebrating the birth of Jesus with birthday cakes for him, or remembering his sacrifice as our savior, I’m good. It’s all Jesus.

It’s all Jesus.

Somewhere, somehow, we have let it become way too complicated. The “cares of this world” have choked out something so beautiful. Our celebration of Jesus has been over decorated, over fed, and over shopped. I have a picture in my mind of a manger piled high with plates of food, ornaments, and gift boxes. I can’t see Jesus.

It happens without us really noticing. I have my lists from my six children. I love giving gifts, finding that perfect present that brings squeals of delight. I shopped, wrapped, made their favorite foods for breakfast and dinner.

In my love for my family, I want them to know that any love and goodness in me is from Christ. I give gifts to them because I have had love lavished upon me by God. He is an extravagant God.

On that note, if we are giving out of the overflow of His love for us, purposefully and with guidance from the Holy Spirit within us, should we be so ready for Christmas to be over?

To me, there are two kinds of exhaustion after a party. There’s the kind when you flop down on your bed because you couldn’t possibly stay awake any longer, but there’s a smile on your face. You turn to your husband and say, “that was so great! I can’t wait til next year!”

Then there’s the other kind of party exhaustion. You crawl into your bed, pull the covers over your head and feel like a good cry would help you sleep better. You feel torn apart and empty.

I know that some of you have crazy family dynamics.  I get that. I also know that some of you put everything you’ve got into creating something magical for your kids. Christmas is a celebration of the sacrificial gift of Jesus. I hope you flopped down on your bed smiling, saying, “I can’t wait til next year!”

This very well could be a day of recovery for most of us girls. The party is over, we slept in. A great day to reflect. Here are some questions we can ask ourselves.

-Did I overspend this year?

-Did I think to myself, “I can’t wait for this to be over!”

-Am I exhausted to the point of tears?

-What changes can I make to create more margin for Jesus celebrating next year?

-Is there a family celebration that I can say “no” to in order to protect my family,marriage, and myself from too much stress?

-How could I create some personal Jesus celebration time into my Christmas next year?

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” –   Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

Go to Starbucks. Take your Bible and your headphones. Breathe.