Christmas in ten. days. away. If you're feeling a crushing sense of overwhelm at everything left to do before now and then, take a deep breath. Grab something warm to drink, and cozy up for some words of encouragement and practical tips before you launch into frenzied action.
We could never outdo Isaiah 9:6-7 or Luke 1:46-55 in an attempt to explain how incredible the Incarnation has been to world history. It is fitting that a celebration of Christ’s birth is a day with so much focus every year. God with us. It’s a profound thought. A revolution. The Light entering the darkness of history and chasing away sin and death “far as the curse is found.” It’s phenomenal.
You want to stay focused on what matters most. But with a hundred things on the to-do list, it’s kind of difficult to transpose the message of “peace on earth” to “peace within.” Here are some tips you can utilize today to step out of your frazzled hurry and into stillness of spirit.
Practical Tips to Cultivate Peace This Week
Declutter your brain. You cannot expect to have the space to relax if your brain has a hundred tabs open and trying to load all at once. Get every single task and detail that’s weighing on your mind down on paper. And then sort them according to their priority. What absolutely has to happen? What is important, but not essential? What is fun, but not important? Having absolute clarity on the things that are most essential, will automatically bring a sense of peace to your to-do list.
Envision what you really want this Christmas. Be specific. It helps to journal this out in the flex space of your planner, incorporating and highlighting core value words in your description. Here are some ideas: reverent, calm, cozy, mindful, communion, delight, deep, warm, centered, focused, together, anticipation, hope.
Be willing to cut the nonessential. If your vision is a festive and delicious Christmas dinner—stressing yourself out to add variety to your cookie selection will minimally add to the warmth of togetherness. In fact, it could actually be counterproductive as you will struggle to have the presence of mind to relax and infuse peace into your family’s dinner with your own still spirit. The idea that the host has to be stressed out of her mind every Christmas as she slaves to make everything flawless is a LIE. Your family needs your joy more than they need a Pinterest-perfect dinner. Ruthlessly edit your to-do list so that you can show up for what’s truly essential this week.
- Take stillness moments. When you feel your stress levels rising, don’t just push through. Take a deep breath and remember Who this week is all about! Jesus welcomed Mary to sit at His feet, even while Martha was running around like a chicken with her head cut off. It’s so tempting to say, “I’ll find my center in Christ after _____.” That doesn’t have to be your story this Christmas season. Christ came for you to lay down your burdens, too. He’s not worried if you forgot to order your Advent calendar in time, or if your kids have their matching pajamas clean on Christmas morning. So every time you feel your Martha coming on, choose a Mary moment. Take a long drink of water, settle the kids, and then take a moment by yourself to just Abide. Don’t get on Instagram, but instead set a timer for 5 minutes. Put on a playlist that ministers to you. Breathe deeply, keep your eyes closed, and lean into a conversation with God until the timer goes off. It doesn’t take much to recenter on what matters—but it does take intention.
Christmas is ten days away. That's ten days to cultivate peace in your home. Ten days to knock out the essential things and let the rest fall away. Ten days to prepare to celebrate the greatest moment the world has ever known.