This year, I put out a last minute call to my Facebook friends and blog Facebook page to ask my readers to share their family traditions, what makes the season special for them or what they are reflecting on during the Christmas season. I’ll share a little about my thoughts this season and then share theirs below. Thanks SO very much to each of you who contributed.
This season there has been a lot of sickness in our circles. One of my blogging friends has been hearing really scary words about her little boy and is undergoing testing which thankfully is starting to look up, my Nanna is having some health complications, one of my good friends lost her baby at 39 weeks pregnant, 2 family friends have lost loved ones this week and one of my best friends who is also 30 is starting chemo on 12/30. (Please be praying for these dear friends and family members!)
Eric’s dad has always said that if you have your health, you have everything in this life. Being healthy is such a gift that we take for granted. When you think about the many organs, millions of cells, and everything that your body does to function properly every minute, it’s astounding. This past year I took on too much. I felt incredibly overwhelmed and stressed as the blog, baby, marriage, work, church, small group and fitness stretched me in many different directions.
As I reflect on this past year, I see that as Leyton got older, responsibilities increased and I had less time during the day to get everything I wanted to accomplished and in turn I would stay up until 1 or 2 am too many nights to get it all done. Because I was so overwhelmed, I would end up forgetting to respond to texts, not finishing projects on time and constantly hopping from one thing to the next in a constant state of a tizzy. Breastfeeding, hormones and stress made my brain feel like mush.
As I reflect on 2015, Eric and I have decided to slow down the amount of hours and time I put in at work and focus more on the blog as a business and being a more present mom and wife. This precious time with Eric and Leyton in our life phase is something that I don’t want to miss.
I sense the Lord opening and shutting doors constantly that have led me down this path and I’m incredibly blessed to be able to have this sphere of the internet where I can have a business. Without you reading my blog, commenting on my social media posts, following me via email and being a part of this community it would be nothing. Without Eric being my rock and encourager, I could NOT get it all done. He is so good at helping me be forced to slow down or stay in even when I don’t think I want or need to. Without my mom and babysitter, helping take care of sweet baby L as needed, I couldn’t do it either. My family is such a huge support system for us.
I will learn to say no more. I will re-commit my mornings to the Lord instead of half-heartedly squeezing in a devotion where and when I can. I will prioritize relationships at work, through the blog, and in life because that’s what I’m called to do as a Christian.
God calls us to be peaceful, calm and even created a day of rest that I have long been ignoring. Research points to stress as a major contributor to early aging, heightened risk of disease and many other scary things. I want to release these stressors to God and instead rely on Him as the controller of my life. I will trust Him with each step of these new changes.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter… For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
Exodus 20: 8-11
My hope and prayer for myself and for each of you is that we can use these next two days to slow down and bask in the peace that surpasses all understanding and that Christ would teach us to unplug more. Settle down. Be still. And create boundaries for ourselves, our marriages, our relationships with our friends and children, and most importantly our relationship with a God so big and loving that He was willing to send His Son to a broken world to die for our sins. A baby changed the whole world, and He can certainly change my heart and perspective. Here’s to celebrating that today, tomorrow and every day! I love each of you and God does too. Merry Christmas, friends!! xoxo
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Reader’s Christmas Traditions & Reflections:
“We do a Jesse tree every year. There is a scripture passage every day starting with Dec 1. It starts from the prophecy of Jesus through King David all the way through his birth. We have felt ornaments that represent each day and it’s really neat to see the whole story.” -Jennifer W.
“sometimes i start writing and i don’t know where it’s going. i follow the impulse and see where it takes me. sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it is downright weird. but i know where this one is going, and it lacks my usual comedic relief.
y’all, we are so. lucky. this year in the USofA has been a strange one, and a lot of things happened that i am just not okay with. a lot of big things. but when i look at the images coming out of aleppo, i am reminded of the sweet, safe life that i lead. i am reminded that for the most part, i am surrounded by people who ultimately want to do and be good. i am reminded how fortunate i am to have been born to the family i was in the country i was. we’ve been given a unique opportunity here that millions of people in the world will never experience a fraction of. so when things seem bad, and the future is daunting, we are still ok. for the most part, we are still going to celebrate the holidays with a roof over our heads, a fully heated house to cozy up in, and too much food in our bellies. this holiday season, i am trying my best to live a full and happy one for all those who can’t. i hope you all do the same!” -Lacey W.
“To me, Christmas is the ultimate season of hope and giving! It’s giving of yourself, and in return, you witness others experience joy! My charitable organization of choice this year is the Cure GM1 Foundation. All I want for Christmas is a Cure! http://www.acureforclara.com/” -Molly G.
“Since marrying a Venezuelan and moving to Central America, my Christmas traditions have completely changed from when I was growing up. We make hallacas (banana leaf filled with a cornmeal stuffed with meat, raisins, and olives), we open gifts on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning, and we go to a formal family party with a live band, buffet, Santa Clause, and a lot of champagne. (I was used to ceremoniously placing cookies by the fireplace for Santa and going to sleep by 10:00pm on Christmas Eve!)
The one tradition I hung on to was going to Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Knots every year since I was a child I have gone to sing Silent Night, O Holy Night, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing and to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas traditions might not look the same from year to year and we may go through days of sadness or happiness around the holidays but God is constant. The sweetest gift that our family will be thankful for this and every year to come is our precious daughter and I hope to show her that Christmas is about being thankful for our many blessings and singing our heart out in worship to our King who was born in a manger.” -Stephanie R.