A Christmas Challenge

Don't let the holidays stress you out with presents and making sure everything is perfect; instead focus on the true meaning and rejoice for Christ.


Tis the season to be   . It’s up to you to decide if ‘tis the season to be stressed or ‘tis the season to be filled with the wonder of Christmas. I know the holidays are a time of the year when the pressure is amplified. I am keenly aware of how difficult it is to prevent the “shoulds” and “oughts” from overshadowing the Holy season of Christmas. But believe it or not, you don’t have to have a frazzled Christmas.

Each December, I find myself anticipating the exhaustion that’s sure to ensue. I have three children, 10 grandchildren, a husband and a ministry to run. My schedule is completely unpredictable most days during any time of year, but when December comes, I feel as though an avalanche of added responsibilities has just landed on my desk.

Several years ago, I made a decision to reverse this stress and operate from a place of rest. It sounds too good to be true, but I’m going to tell you how you can make—and stick to—a commitment like this. If you do, your holiday season will be sweeter than ever before and the avalanche of to-dos will be replaced by the celebration the birth of Christ deserves.

The “To Don’t” List
To start with, I wrote down everything I wanted to accomplish during the holiday season. Next, I scratched off the unnecessary items—the “shoulds’ and ‘oughts”— most of these were things I felt I had to do simply because I always had. I realized most of these were just an indication of my need to strive for perfection.


What are the things on your to do list that aren’t necessarily there because they are honoring to the Lord? We ask Him to lead us and then we proceed with our own agendas. If we really want the Holy Spirit to lead us in the dance of life (particularly a Christmas waltz), then we need to stop stepping on His feet and dragging him along to our own music.

For me, this meant nixing things like sending Christmas cards and buying Christmas presents for everyone and his uncle. God never told me to do those things. Why do we push ourselves to do things we were never called to?

Having scratched off most of what was on my list, I asked the Lord to give me His list. If hearing from Him seems difficult, remember, He promised in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John that His sheep would know His voice. The best way to know His voice is to spend time reading the Bible. Learn His promises and become familiar with what He teaches through scripture. Sensing His leading will become natural when His truth is planted deep in your heart and mind.      

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Joanne Ellison
Related Topics: Christmas, Love And Family, Faith, Christ
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