Tuesday, December 8, 2009

His yoke is easy...

So many people get so stressed out during this time of year that it's baffling. If it's supposed to be: the most wonderful time of the year--why does it feel like this?

It feels like this--whatever this is for you--because we are acting contrary to what our hearts are telling us. Our hearts are telling us that it's all about the people and being together, but our actions prove otherwise.

In reality, it's about: the food, the decorations, the gifts, the surprise factor, and the clothing/ appearances that we make.

Everything I've just listed are the externals of what we claim to celebrate. For some unknown reason, the food you eat on regular days is not good enough for the holidays. The way you decorate your home is also not good enough for the holidays either. And gifts. Well, if you can afford them, they are not good enough either. They are only good enough if you have to go into debt for them. And don't forget "the drama" of the whole thing. Unveiling things one by one in order to work the children into a greed climax (that is never satiated) so they can be whining and crying when they "didn't get" what they thought they wanted??

People! Why do we put ourselves through this? Why?

About 13 years ago, I decided that I was not going to feel obligated to endorse any traditions that I did not feel there was some sort of direct purpose in. At first I felt like such a rebel. You mean you are NOT sending out Christmas cards?!! And the deliciously downward spiral started. I gave myself the freedom to only endorse what I thought was necessary.

My first thought was: Can it really be THIS easy? I thought December was supposed to be stressful?! Amazingly, the kids have adapted quite well, since we've never endorsed greed in their regular day lives. Why should we let it run rampant at one time of year?

And the worst part is--I don't even feel guilty about it. I feel a complete peace.

As for our family, I hope to be decked out in snowshoes enjoying a fresh walk outside in my brother's big yard with my family around the afternoon of the 25th. We've all agreed that we each have too much stuff, but what we can not get enough of is: love and quality time spent together. And sure we'll get each other a little something--probably a consumable of some sort. And we'll eat, and no doubt it will be good, but it always is. And we'll play games and laugh and sing some songs or sit around and "chew the fat" because we can. And aunt Kim will not do her hair, because she never does. And my Mom will do hers, because she always does. And I will look like a hedgehog, since that's what I do best. And we will all laugh, and nothing will be particularly funny, and yet everything will be. And this is how I see Jesus in my holiday. HIS yoke is EASY and HIS burden is LIGHT.


Bobbie said...

Love it... I too am looking to stop the crazy stress of the holiday and have stopped sending Christmas cards. I sometimes send Valentine Cards instead.

Herding Grasshoppers said...


Since the boys have been growing and becoming more aware, I too have been simplifying.

We have several family traditions that we want to do, and like doing... but not out of obligation. Not if it's just stressful.

One of them is, we don't travel on Christmas. Okay, my parents are seven miles away. We got there. But that's it. Maybe that's not an issue for anybody else, but it's HUGE to me :0)

His yoke IS easy,


Roxanna said...

That was a great post. We started to simplify X-mas last year and it was one of the best X-mas we have had. I didn't stress as I had the years before and I am taking the same approach this year too and I already am feeling better then I usually do then the years before.

We put so much stress on ourselves during the holidays it seems to ruin it a lot of the times. We need to remember really what the holiday is about :)

Roxanna said...

I posted this on my blog but thought I would cross post it here because I am really interested :)

You are going to have to tell me about moose. I have had bison, dear, elk, and buffalo before. Is it really lean?

Tiffany said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!! Thank you for this. You definitely have the right idea. Now if only I can learn this and apply this while my sweet children are still young!

Deborah said...


The way Christmas should be! We have enjoyed mostly stress free Christmases too. The traditions we have are all things that we look forward to and enjoy as a family.


DarcyLee said...

I so agree! Unfortunately, the stress isn't always caused by ourselves but put upon us by other family members. When my daughter and her husband first got married they were expected to buy individual gifts for each of his 5 siblings, their spouses and children. What a burden to put on a young married couple. Since then, they have pared it down and now only buy for the children.

Braley Mama said...

That is my go to verse when I feel the stress coming on!
Can I just mention that this is my favorite blog to read:)
You are a gifted writer and I always come away from your blog feeling like I just spoke to a friend I haven't seen in a while! Thanks for this great post.

Organizing Mommy said...

Oh Braley mama! You are too sweet--actually you ALL are too sweet. I almost didn't hit "publish" again! And you guys brighten my day so much by your nice comments.

DarcyLee: I think I remember those obligation type of gift exchanges. They usually die down after a few years. When you start sending a box of cookies or fudge, they get the idea that you are not doing it anymore!

Jen said...

The last paragraph is my favorite! That sounds like a party I want to be invited to. :)

I think I'll make some of those 'activity' suggestions at our family get together on Christmas Day.

RogersUIO said...

Snowshoeing sounds like great fun! I've never tried it. We'll be busy make sand angels and castles.

Have you ever played Quirkle? It's a great family game and I highly recommend it.

!Feliz Navidad!

sara said...

You are so right - and yet I have been on the other side too. I realize this is probably peculiar only to me, but there have been times when I have done almost nothing to distinguish holidays from other days of the year. I think that's almost as bad. It's a special time, a celebration, a holy day! :) I used to get very sad this time of year. By His grace, it just keeps getting better and better though. Now I so enjoy putting up a cheerful tree and drinking hot chocolate and singing carols. I am so grateful for His incarnation and for the celebration and for being able to pass these warm traditions to my children.

Mrs. Parunak said...

Sounds lovely! Simple can be really good.