The helter-skelter nature of the holidays presses in on me about this time each year without fail. I have a list of gifts yet to buy and make, even though just a couple weeks ago I was patting myself on the back for getting so much planned, purchased, and created ahead of schedule. Somehow, once we turn the calendar page to December, things start moving at lightning-fast speed. Our to-do lists fill up with things --many of them good and enjoyable-- and taunt us with their never-ending growth.
This year, I am going to force myself to make time to create some calm, and then truly cherish the break. I desperately need some breathing room in this season, although I love it dearly. It truly is my favorite time of year for all the good things it brings-- beautiful lights, decorated Christmas trees, sweet treats, motivation to be generous and kind, and precious time with friends and family. But I won't deny that it also carries with it a certain stress and strain, and I'm not going to succumb to it without a fight.
I'm going to continue to take care of the things I need to do in order to prepare for all the sweet gatherings I have coming up, but I will choose to do so in an unhurried manner. I will be okay with not getting everything done as early as I may like. I won't procrastinate and create more stress for myself, but I will be flexible in making time for slowing down and enjoying the magic of Christmastime. I will remind myself that this time of year is supposed to be one of joy, hope, and celebration, not one of stress.
I'm going to bask in the light of our Christmas tree, watch some of my favorite Christmas movies, sip some hot apple cider, set my phone aside, detach from my to-do list and the rest of the world, and just breathe. I'm going to remember the real reason behind the traditions and tasks that regularly fill up this season, and take time to look up, thinking of my Savior as I commemorate His birthday.
As I savor this season that will all too soon give way to the bleak, dismal months of winter post-holidays, I hope you'll join me and commit to making time in your hectic schedule to create some calm and truly cherish it. Embrace everything this season has to offer, from the carols on the radio to the beautiful lighting displays in your neighborhood to the cheesy made-for-TV-movies. Dwell on that magnificent, miraculous first Christmas, pondering what it must have been like for those who witnessed it firsthand. Carve out time for yourself, counting your blessings, expressing gratitude for everything you have been so generously given in this life, and maybe throw in a cup of steaming hot cocoa for good measure!