Ever feel overwhelmed by Christmas? Between the gift lists and the decorating, the comfort and joy of Christ can get lost. Last year, I wrote this manifesto as a way to approach Christmas with peace. As a reminder, once again, here it is. Take a moment to pause, breathe, and pray over the celebration of God with us- Emmanuel.
November 2015
Working full time and raising six children has been the greatest challenge of my life! I constantly battle work guilt and mom guilt. The last thing this tired mama needs is “Holiday Guilt.” Never heard of it? I’m pretty sure it’s a recognized psychological disorder brought on by websites like Pinterest.
Wreathes, centerpieces, ornaments, new family traditions, and the worst of all, Advent. I cringe to think of all my failed Advent attempts. Candles, calendars, trees…none completed.
Holiday guilt.
There is so much pressure on moms to create a picture-perfect holiday experience for our families. The decorations, the food, the traditions, and the gifts. But that isn’t all. For it to truly matter, it must be posted. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram.

Looking back through my memories of Christmas, I remember my favorite gifts from Santa. My Easy Bake Oven, a  boom box with a package of cassette tapes, a Curious George plush doll (that I still have). I remember dancing with my mom to Christmas songs we played on our record player. I remember my dad’s smile as he watched my brother and I place our favorite ornaments on the tree.

There are no memories of perfection. Our decorations were minimal. A tree and stockings. My mother didn’t make a gingerbread house with us or light an advent candle leading up to Christmas. Yet, Christmas is my best childhood memory.

Today, our be more, do more world whispers guilt to us when we can’t do it all.

Holiday guilt.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I am taking a stand. I am refusing to let guilt find me and settle into my spirit. I am walking toward Christmas with a thankful heart. After all, Christmas is a celebration of deep gratitude for our best gift ever. Jesus.

Our Christmas will be simple. A tree and stockings. A fire in the fireplace with lots of snuggling. We will watch “Elf”  the first night of Christmas break, and as many cheesy Hallmark movies as possible. We will take the kids to shop for each other at Target and eat popcorn while people look on thinking we are part of the Boys and Girls club because we are there with six kids, and two are black.

We will come home after the Christmas Eve service and eat our favorite yummies. We will watch the “Nativity” and go to bed hoping it snows.

Along with the festivities there will also be fighting. Children will argue. My precious babes will annoy me almost to tears. My husband will say something to hurt my feelings, and I will be too controlling and blast one of my kids for simply being a kid. Our Christmas season will not resemble a Hallmark movie, no matter how much I prepare for its arrival.

Yet, I refuse to be disappointed. Instead, I will invite Jesus into our mess for Christmas. I will thank him for the moments of beauty that he will graciously create in spite of us. I will look for him in it all. I will seek him out instead of driving my family crazy trying to make it all perfect.

We will not spend more than we have or exhaust ourselves creating beauty on our mantle. We will save room in our hearts for Christ and the peace that he brings. We will neither hustle nor bustle to create the perfect day, because the gift we have already been given is indeed perfection.

This is my Christmas manifesto. I am inviting joy into our world by inviting Jesus to make himself at home in our home. Our loud, messy, and imperfect home. I will ask him, since it’s his birthday anyway, “how would you like to be honored in our home this Christmas?”

As Christmas approaches, there is a temptation to let our demanding calendars and shopping lists distract us, if not consume us. We could easily spend this month preparing for a celebration and be too exhausted to enjoy the precious birthday boy. Instead, let’s ask him what he wants for his birthday. Let’s seek his face and ask him, “how can we honor you in our home this Christmas?”

It is all for Jesus. Come, let us adore him!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God. The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6-7

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