Is the holiday season stealing your joy and stressing you out?
Is supercharged gift buying and cookie baking making you crazy?
Then take a few minutes to check out these unconventional ways to reconnect with the true joy of the season!
1. Kick an Amazon box across your porch.
When I have spent one too many nights furiously scrolling for perfect Christmas gifts on Amazon, I know it’s time to take back control. And what better way to do that than take a swift kick at materialism! So, when I know my neighbors aren’t watching, I set my sights on one of the many Amazon boxes on my porch, get a running start, and then punt it like a football. (I even laugh a little while doing it!) Yes, I am the one who spent my hard-earned money on that gift I just damaged, but I will be the one with the last laugh!
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
2. Crank up your audio Bible and drown out your mental holiday to-do list.
There’s nothing like a good dose of Scripture to snap you out of your trance of Christmas consumerism. When gift-buying and holiday planning have become your greatest obsession, it’s time for a reality check. After being bogged down by worldly pressures, listening to God’s word is just the answer. In fact, it’s kind of like having a cold glass of water thrown in your face: it can be very shocking, but you know it’s exactly what you need!
Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Ephesians 5:14
3. Sit by your Christmas tree and listen to Josh Groban’s Christmas album while drinking hot chocolate.
This is the holiday version of “Calgon, take me away.” And it requires only that you sit on your couch and listen as the smooth, soothing voice of Josh Groban melts your cares away. Not only will this relax you, but you just might remember the true meaning of Christmas. Trust me, Josh Groban’s version of “Silent Night” will leave you in such awe of Jesus, that it will make you question why you spend so much time focused on the chaos of this world.
The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. Luke 8:14
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
4. Take a nap instead of making supper for your family.
Now, this may sound a bit cruel to your family members, but here are a few reasons why this is actually good advice: 1) We all know that we are going to gain about 5 pounds this holiday season, so you will actually be doing your family a favor by making them skip a meal or two. 2) You will be able to rest your weary body while other members of your family grow in independence. As your loved ones desperately hunt for food in the kitchen, they are sharpening their critical thinking skills and their ability to survive outside of the nest. And remember, God didn’t create Ramen noodles for nothing! ANYONE can throw noodles into boiling water…and they will be better, stronger people for it.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
5. When your friends ask you to go to Bath & Body, just say “no.”
Bath & Body seems like a beautifully-scented escape from reality where you can throw all your cares right out the window. It just glitters and shines and sparkles in all the right ways! However, what you really end up doing when you walk into that store is throw all your money out the window…and they make you stand in line for 45 minutes to do it. Yes, even when I have a coupon that I know is going to save me BIG MONEY, I end up going into shock when the cashier tells me what I owe.
Be wise enough to restrain yourself…Proverbs 23:4
6. Be nice to someone who seems really grumpy.
Take on the mindset of Buddy the Elf, whose favorite things in life are smiling, singing, and being nice. There’s nothing like a little kindness to change an attitude (even your own!) this holiday season. Have a grumpy co-worker? Tell them how wonderful the world is because they are in it! Have some mopey kids who blame you for their extreme boredom? Tell them you’ll show them what fun is and start dancing like you were 18 again. Maybe they’ll be embarrassed for you, but at least you’ll be having fun!
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…Psalm 100:1
7. Lastly, think of all the ways you’ve messed up in life and then revel in the fact that Jesus still loves you.
When I think of just how much I’ve been forgiven, it brings bittersweet tears to my eyes. Who am I that God should send his son into this world to save, redeem, and care for me? Why should I have Jesus’ unfailing love and faithfulness…when my faithfulness falters? When I think about these questions, it reminds me that presents and parties are not the main thing I want to pass on to my children. Instead, I want them to carry on the hope of Jesus through the generations–not the stress of never measuring up or striving for things that don’t last.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
So this Christmas season, take hold of the miracle that God offers through his son Jesus Christ. And let go of trying to make Christmas amazing all by yourself–God already did that when he sent his Son to this earth. Praise Him for such a wonderful gift!
In the everlasting love of Christ,