As a boy I remember my mom setting up a small chalk board and chalk every December. She would have my brother and I write what we wanted for Christmas on the board.
I don’t remember ever having any trouble coming up with a list…but I don’t I also don’t remember many of the gifts. Do you? Can you remember your Christmas gifts when you were a kid? I can only come up with 4 or 5 over the course of several years.
The experience of Christmas does change as we grow up. For me it was Star Wars toys, then video games and CDs (an archaic source of music on a flat disc), finally the latest hi-tops.
Somewhere along the way I started wanting Christmas to mean more. Gathering with family, seeing old friends, strengthening my faith and meeting other people’s needs. Can you relate?
Sorry if this sounds like the super sappy song “My Grown Up Christmas List”! Guess there is some truth to it.
Here are three things to put on your Christmas list no matter your age. Put them on your list. If you GIVE yourself these gifts you will make it a Christmas to remember.
It has been a hard year. We say that every year but this one was different. Everyone I talk to is actually working harder and feels more exhausted than ever before.
I know you have so many reasons why you can’t rest. Trying to create a great Christmas for your family. A job that never lets up. Family commitments. Possibly even some anxiety if you stop running you might reflect and feel worse. Ouch, I know, sorry about that.
I also know if you feel discouraged, overwhelmed and defeated adding exhaustion will not help. It won’t. It can’t. You know it is true.
Take some PTO, sleep in, tell the family you are having a “do nothing” day. The only goal is to rest physically and emotionally. No rushing, no working. Eat your favorite foods, wear your favorite clothes and take as many naps as you can! After you sleep in of course.
CAUTION – TELLING YOU WHAT YOU ALREAD KNOW, but you need to hear it again. Your work will still be there, there will be another game/practice, and if you refuse to rest eventually your body will refuse to work. Give yourself the gift of rest.
2) Remove Regrets.
Ah it is time for the family gatherings. Don’t talk about politics, faith, the economy, why your brother is out of work and how your father-in-law is so selfish. Stay on topics like the weather, sports and pets. Old wounds may fester but let’s not pick at them right?
The situation with friends, co-workers and neighbors may not be much better. We have spent the recent season in our lives living on a hair triggers with everyone potentially going off about something. It caused a lot of relationship drama.
Along the way, someone in your life is in a slightly (or maybe heavily) damaged relationship with you. Christmas is the perfect time to work at that.
It may be too much to expect to reconcile everything. Pain and history run deep. You can remove any regret though. The goal isn’t to get back at them, wait for them to apologize or see how wrong they are. Those things never happen.
Your goal, the thing on your Christmas list, is to remove regret. Don’t look back at that damaged relationship and do nothing, eventually regretting the relationship never had a chance to improve.
Text, call, or invite them over. Reach out, quit waiting for them to make the first move. Let them know you want them in your life. You can’t control how they respond but you can remove any regrets, now and in the future by opening a door.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christmas has a unique aspect for you. All the things you want be true…are true. There is healing for the broken, peace for the unsettled, forgiveness for the failed and light for all of us who were in the dark.
The desperation, discouragement and discontent so many live with every mind numbing day can be turned into Joy, Hope and peace. Do you think there are people in your life who need to know that?
Ask them. Not if they want to convert or be religious, ask them if they want life. You see they may not know the truth of Christmas but they want Christmas to be true.
Following rules or being judgmental no they aren’t interested in that. Being transformed, embracing the possibility of a completely different life on the inside. Finding all the things about God that you love are true for them too. Yeah most people are down with that right about now.
Request they come with you. Bring them to Christmas Eve services.
Put it on your list, you will be glad you did.
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