Saturday, November 29, 2014

Holidays...Friend or Foe?


The holidays are almost upon us and it can bring up two types of feelings…excitement or dread.  As we get ready to celebrate the holidays, our days can fill up with busyness and we easily can become stressed out.  I think of the song lyric, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  Really?  Is it really always wonderful?
What stresses you out about the holidays?
meals and cooking?
family feuds?
money and gift buying?
extra activities?
For years, I used to dread the holidays. There was stress and pressure from extended family as to whom and where we would spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with.  We just knew whatever decision we made, someone wasn’t going to be happy.
Then, there was the gift-giving debacle. What do you buy someone who has everything and you only have a tiny budget? I would spend hours going in and out of stores looking for that perfect gift that always seemed to allude me.
We were just newlyweds and we already felt like the holidays would be overwhelming each year. For many years, I really dreaded them. Until one year, I went to a Christmas event at my church. I heard our worship pastor’s wife, Ruth, speak and her words filled my heart.  For the first time since I had been married, I felt like the dreaded holidays weren’t going to be so dreadful anymore.
Ruth talked about creating new traditions that centered around the real meaning of Christmas. It was like a light bulb went on in my head! My husband and I are our own family now. Yes, we have extended family but we are our own family unit and within that we need to create our own traditions. This was something we hadn’t given much thought to.  We had just gone along with what our families had always done. I walked away from Ruth’s talk feeling like it was our time to begin our own family traditions.  I shared with my husband what I had learned and we began to talk about what we wanted for our little family.
One thing we both knew is that we wanted to be intentional about how we celebrated the holidays.  Our faith in Jesus is a huge part of who we are and we wanted our holidays to reflect that.  We began deciding what traditions we might want to carry over from our childhood and ones that we might not want to keep or somehow change.  There was also the excitement of creating new traditions that neither one of us grew up with.
Tomorrow, I will share about one of our most favorite traditions we have created for our family!

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