Don’t we all desire to savor the best of this season?
Much of the hurry is created by the voices that we allow into our heads. Think about the noise on social media and the signage everywhere we go inviting us to buy something quick. Listen to the acute stress in the voices around you. Stop! Identify your reality. Make intentional decisions about this season.
Remember that hurry is incompatible with love.
A list compiled by Ruth Haley Barton, author of Invited to Retreat and other life changing books, identified 10 signs that you are moving too fast through life.
- Irritability (on edge)
- Hyper sensitivity
- Restlessness (When you stop to rest, you can’t relax.)
- Compulsive overworking
- Escapist behaviors (Bing watching shows, excessive social media usage, excessive alcohol or other addictive behaviors.)
- Disconnected from your identity or calling
- Not able to attend to basic human needs (sleep, exercise or eat)
- Hoarding energy (Saving energy because you know you are going to need it for something later)
- Slippage in spiritual practices (Disciplines become less and less frequent.)
Are you in too much of a hurry? Are you in balance? Are you out of balance? Are you being sucked into the “hustle and bustle” of the season? Does this sound like you? Decide to embrace your everydays by slowing down.
What do you want to remember about this Christmas? What do you want your family to remember about this Christmas? What do others feel when they have been with you? Is your presence life-giving? Are your words full of hope and encouragement? At the end of the day do you feel exhaustion mixed with gratitude? Are your days full, but empty? What do you want more of? Here are some thoughts for more presence that presents this Christmas:
- Sit quietly and evaluate the stress level in your body. Identify ways to simplify this season.
- Name your favorite things about Christmas. Do those things.
- Marinate in God’s blessings to you so that your gratitude will lead you to the fullest joy!
- Enjoy my Christmas tree at my house.
- Slow my body to take in the senses of the season.
- Smell Christmas. Hear the music. Taste the flavors of gingerbread or Christmas cookies. Touch the beauty. Feel the crisp air or crackling fire.
- Give the gift of a long warm hug.
- Prioritize time with your family.
- Create quiet days.
- Control screen time. Put it away. Be in person with people.
- Buy all your gifts as early as possible. Be done with shopping as possible.
- Consider experience gifts. The best experiences are things you do together. Grab the recipient of your gift and do something together instead of giving them a gift. (Thank you to my daughter Katie for really focusing on this exciting type of giving!)
- Set a time to decorate. When the time is up, put the rest away. Don’t let this part of the preparation drag out.
- When you see beautiful lights, slow down and really see the beauty.
- Read Scripture out loud yourself and with those you love.
- Make a playlist of your favorite Christmas music. Be still and listen well.
- Locate an advent book or calendar. Follow it so you can focus on the Christ child.
- Gift your favorite book to your each family member with chocolate. Climb in bed and read your new books together. (Idea from John Mark Comer)
- Recall your favorite traditions. Do them.
- Create a new tradition.
- Drink your favorite seasonal drinks with family or friends. I am thinking wassail or egg nog.
- As each Christmas card arrives, place it in a visible place. Pray for that family member of friend as you enjoy their card.
- Remember that kindness is free. Practice kindness with strangers, but most importantly, at home.
- Anticipate interruptions. Remember that how you respond to interruptions reveals your real self.
Create a heart connection to the life you are living.
As you pursue presence, grab hold of the here and now.
Embrace your everyday by embracing today.
Join me for a conversation with Tim on Embrace Your Everyday.
For more inspiration on Christmas…