My sister once told me that a woman is happy when the dishes and laundry are done. I like that thought, but I also like the thought of bringing a little extra comfort and joy to the home–especially during the holiday season.
It wasn’t until I grew up and had a family of my own that I realized how much effort my mom put into Christmas. I remember the weeks of preparation in which she decorated, shopped, cooked, baked, cleaned and wrapped gifts for the family.
We didn’t just have Christmas baking, we had a freezer packed full. She made sugar cookies, butter tarts, mince meat tarts, shortbread, and peanut butter cookies.
The tables were decorated with all sorts of treats like mixed nuts, hard candies, chocolates, and Japanese oranges.
Garland hung from the ceiling, tinsel adorned the tree, festive carols filled the air.
And of course the house was immaculate.
The thought of keeping up with all that is exhausting.
Just as I was feeling the stress of it all, a song came on the radio. It was Amy Grant…
December comes then disappears
Faster and faster every year
Did my own mother keep this pace
Or was the world a different place?
Where people stayed home wishing for snow
Watching three channels on their TV
Look at us now rushing around
Trying to buy Christmas peace
Amy Grant “I Need Silent Night”
First thought that came to my mind? She gets it. This woman knows exactly how I’m feeling about all of this.
I’m not the only one stressing over this “To-Do (or you won’t be an awesome mom) List.” Other women are feeling it too.
Were the malls this packed in the 70s? Did we have this many school concerts to go to? Did we have this many gifts to buy?
Where’s the comfort and joy in the rush of the season?
And then a comforting Word comes to mind…
“Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:” – Luke 10:41
Being a homemaker is one of the best gifts that we can bring to our family, but it becomes a snare to us when we’re more concerned about keeping up with the world than we are about keeping up with Christ.
The same sister who told me about the dishes and laundry, warned me about June Cleaver syndrome. It happens when we’re too busy trying to be perfect that we forget how we should just be ourselves.
Your joyful presence in the home is greater than any present you’ll find under the tree. It’s okay to cut back, it’s okay to pare down, it’s okay to spend less.
If you’re finding that life is a little too crazy this month, here are a few ways to bring comfort and joy to your home:
1. Formulate a plan. Decide what you want to get done, and then create a schedule for yourself. Thinking ahead will make things easier on you. For example you might want to schedule baking after grocery shopping day. You might set aside one day to wrap all gifts after the shopping is done. You might cook ahead of time and freeze some things so you don’t overload yourself on Christmas day or Christmas Eve.
Another reason that planning ahead works so well is because you won’t be as likely to run out of time and miss out on something fun or important like driving to see Christmas lights or mailing your cards out on time.
Here are some of the things you might want on your list:
- Get Christmas Cards Out
- Decorate the tree
- Cook ahead
- Grocery shop
- Shop for gifts
- Shop online for gifts
- Wrap gifts
- Get items together for the homeless
- Drive to see Christmas lights
- Visit extended family
- Attend a party
- Host a party
Remember, everyone’s list will be different, don’t be afraid to cut out some things or add more of your own. The list might feel long, but if you formulate a plan soon, you can offer yourself a comfortable pace. Having a little bit to do every day is so much better than having a long list of things that need to get done all at once.
The awesome thing about a list is that it feels great when we check things off. At least I find it does!
2. Think of a few easy ways to bring comfort and joy into the home. Things like lighting dollar store candles, putting Christmas carols on, reading the Christmas story from the Bible, watching a Christmas movie, lighting the fireplace, and setting out a few dishes of candies, will add a little extra comfort and joy to your home without stressing you out.
3. Minimize. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if you have to. Get togethers can become overwhelming when there are too many of them. It’s okay to turn some of them down. Christmas cards stressing you out? Then don’t send them. Or perhaps choose to send them every second year instead.
4. Delegate. If you have a large family, delegate some of the responsibilities where you can. Maybe your husband can do the shopping… maybe your son can wrap gifts… maybe your daughter can help bake… maybe the kids can fill out Christmas cards…
5. Stay organized. Get your laundry and your dishes done. Keep the house tidy. After all, a tidy house is a comfortable house.
6. Enjoy silent moments. Sometimes we’re so focused on being a Martha that we forget how important it is to be Mary. Spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus. Soak in His presence, read the Word. Sneak away to a quiet spot when you can, and enjoy time alone with the One we are celebrating.
“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:42
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
Mary and Martha
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. – Luke 10:38-42
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