"'Tis the Season"

December 18, 2021
Photo courtesy of ARH Inspirations ~ Created with Canva Pro

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Let’s talk for a second about the rush of the holiday season. Christmas is one of the most amazing times of the entire year. The celebration of the birth of Christ brings joyous occasions, gifts, family time, lights, and even smells that we wait for all year long. But sadly, being humans who still miss the real reason for the season more often than not, this time of year also brings long to-do lists, tons of errands, traffic, packed schedules, tension, sadness, stress, and loneliness to many. The holiday season brings increased events and obligations that we convince ourselves are not negotiable and that belief lands us in crowded rooms checking the boxes instead of cherishing the moments. Exhausting is an understatement.

So, tell me friend, how exhausted are you?

Are you overwhelmed, dragging tired, and counting down the days like a clock is ticking away the time you have left to get it all done? I have a weird suggestion for you.

Stop.

No matter what deadline you are under. No matter what card is not out before the already-slow mail delivery gets to your box. No matter how many cookies still need to be baked, songs prepared, or gifts wrapped, take a minute and just be still. There are hundreds of platitudes in the world about the need to take a minute for some self-care. Pick one. You can’t pour from an empty cup . . . put your own mask on first . . . and so on and so on. We know them. We know they are true. Yet somehow every year we overcommit and then spend the days after Christmas trying to recover from it all. Think about that. Recovering from Christmas. As if the need to celebrate Jesus had an end date.

You know what also does not have an end date? The amount of time Jesus wants to celebrate you. He wants to talk to you, tell you things, lift you up, give you wisdom and strength and peace and joy. But I would imagine it is hard to hit a moving target. For Him to celebrate you, you have to stop. You have to be still. You have to listen. He has something important to say, including that at the "end" of this busy season—your family will still need you, your heart will still feel loss, your work will not be done, and problems will still exist. These things do not stop just because the date changed on the calendar. And neither does His desire to spend time with the very one He was born to save.

Sidenote. There are some other things that should not "end" when Christmas is over. There shouldn't be a cut off date on kindness, giving, love, and cherished moments. These very things are usually included in the list of reasons people love the season. Everyone is a little more giving, a little more compassionate. But it seems, if we are not careful, the very things we cherish can become another thing we try to check off the list as done. Again, more things that really don't have a deadline.

Which means you DO have time. Time to breathe. Time to pray. To read, sing, dance, cook, write, sleep. Time to be kind. Time to celebrate the one who celebrates you. There is also time to take care of yourself. You cannot shine His light from nothing, you have to plug into the source that renews and transforms you. Then you will have light to share. All. Year. Long.

It is okay, my friend. Give yourself this gift. Stop. It literally will be the gift that keeps you giving with no end in sight.

Shannon Leach is an inspirational encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart. She writes both fiction and nonfiction stories about leadership, life, and loving people in order to encourage others and remind them they are not alone.
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