Does anyone else feel like they are running the 500 yard dash to Christmas? 

From decorating the Christmas tree, addressing Christmas cards, buying and wrapping presents, making Christmas sweets, to attending festive Christmas parties, we jam in so much activity in such a short amount of time. We over eat, over extend, and over buy ourselves into a month-long race, only to end up at the finish line exhausted and wondering why we over-complicated a season that is meant to be rejoiced and savored.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a race.

I was remembering this last night as I was tucking my girls into bed. We’d just finished reading our Elf on the Shelf book and they asked me to sing them their songs. Snuggled up close, I was tired from a long weekend of Christmas festivities but it was in this moment that I realized the true joy of Christmas – it is a reason to celebrate with the ones we love. 

While celebrations so often consume us with rushing and running ourselves ragged, Christmas is a celebration that is meant to happen over time. Daily, we celebrate the advent and discover the timeless story with fresh eyes and ears. We teach these things to our children – through parties, trimming the tree, and baking – but also in a quiet room at dark, with only the words “Away in a Manger” filling the air. 

To escape the busyness of Christmas, we must run the race one day at a time. If we don’t, we miss the beauty of celebrating the birth of Christ. Don’t try to cram all of your Christmas activities into one weekend. Spread it out and keep it simple. Know your limitations and keep time to rest in your schedule. Let the little moments add up to a big, month-long celebration. 

Don’t let the busyness of Christmas keep your heart from remembering the beauty of Christmas.

If you don’t have babies in your house, I encourage you to find a baby to hold during the month of December. Notice the smoothness of his skin, the fuzz of his hair, and the way he feels in your arms. Remember that this was how God humbled himself, to come into this world as one of us, but perfect and flawless and pure. Breathe in His soft, newborn scent and focus on the life that he lived here on this earth with us. Let his ministry guide your month of celebrating. 

This Christmas, I’m accepting that I’m human and flawed. I need rest, and I get worked up over the most trivial things. But, I’m not going to allow the rush of Christmas to overwhelm me this year. Instead, I’m running at my own pace. I want my children to remember a mom that celebrated Christmas.

Take a moment to just focus on what today brings. Hold your day open-handed to God and admit that you are nothing without him. Confess what is making you anxious and what is stealing your Christmas joy. Read and write out scripture so you remember it throughout the day. After doing all of this, think on the things worth celebrating today. 

Christmas is a celebration, not a marathon to be won. How will you choose to escape the busyness of today so you can truly celebrate?