The Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season is one of the most demanding, depleting and delightful seasons of them all. Year after year, we find ourselves spending money we shouldn’t be spending, committing to parties we don’t have time to be at and baking baked goods that turn out to be “baked bads.” As women, the pressure of the season can sometimes feel unbearable. As Christians, the meaning of the season is often lost in the materialization of presents and parties. With the season fast approaching, I wanted to share some tips on how to stay focused, faithful and intentional with your time.
1.) It’s Okay to say No!
In fact, it’s actually HEALTHY and could quiet possibly keep you from going insane. In her book, The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst says, “A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.” The Holidays will naturally bring invitations to MULTIPLE parties. You have the Ugly Christmas Sweater party, the Church Christmas Pageant, the Work Christmas party, the White Elephant Gift Exchange, and the Cookie Decorating get together. And still, this doesn’t include the Christmas Eve Service or going to the annual Trail of Lights at Zilker. This is an overwhelming list of obligations many of us commit to and show up exhausted. To avoid an over scheduled iCal, set your expectation to commit to a certain number of events, decide which ones are important and STICK to those!
2.) Commit to Doing an Advent Study
Advent studies have become super trendy and popular in the Christian women realm. That doesn’t mean that they are not important or necessary. For those who are unfamiliar with what Advent actually is, I’ll explain. Advent is the first season of the liturgical year. The season of Advent lasts for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas and focuses on the remembrance of Christ and the anticipation of His coming. There are many great studies out there but I will list three of my favorites
· She Reads Truth - Joy to the World: Advent 2017
· Well-Watered Woman – He is: Experiencing the Power of Jesus’ Name
· Sacred Holiday - For All: Women’s Advent Study 2017
3.) Give Back / Serve / Volunteer
This is probably the least glamourous but truly the most important. This is where you discover the meaning of the season. This is where you hear God speak to you. This is where you speak God’s words to others! It is so important to give back to our community in all seasons but the Holidays are when people who have nothing REALLY realize they have nothing. Food, family and friends; these are the things people gather around over the holidays. We must be mindful of the people who do not have these things and seek out to invite them in by giving back or volunteering time. Here are a few of my favorite places to volunteer:
· Central Texas Food Bank
· Hope Food Pantry Austin
· Blue Santa
· Meals on Wheels
· Coats for Kids
· Foster Angels of Central Texas
My hope for you this Holiday season is that you truly get to savor the season. So often, we let these days fly by and completely miss opportunity to draw closer to our Creator. My prayer for you is to slow down, sit back and savor our Savior!
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you -