Simplicity becomes elusive during the Christmas season. We are bombarded continually with advertising to buy something NOW. Shopping with the deadline for the best price brings stress to “buy more, more, more, right now.” December activities cram the calendar; we become hyper busy and worn out. Where has simplicity gone?
It’s hard to go against the cultural trends to slow down to enjoy the season. The classic Christmas movies create nostalgia for a simpler time. In the faster pace we miss the satisfaction of enjoying simple things, like driving through neighborhoods just to see Christmas lights, having a cup of coffee with a friend, or stopping to hear a child sing.
Ways to regain simplicity in the craziness of December:
- Set limits on the number of Christmas gifts you give. If you love gift giving, it is easy to overdo it, so determine in advance how many gifts you’ll give to those on your list.
- Decide which activities are important to you and your family and commit to those. Time is valuable. Choose the most important family activities, put it on the calendar, and make a special memory.
- Simplify decorations. Decorating can be fun, but it also takes time and can add stress if you are determined to have every candle and string of lights in place by the day after Thanksgiving. Do what is manageable for you.
As I studied the word simplicity, I learned that it is from a Hebrew word meaning sincerity of heart, integrity, a singleness of mind.
With this in mind, ask yourself this: How can my Christmas activities reflect sincerity of heart and desire to celebrate the birth of the Savior?
Contentment is also a part of simplicity.
Contentment learns to say “I have all that I need in Christ.” When this spills into our December life, we lose a little craziness and gain a little peace.
In his article Living Simply–and Richly, James Watkins wrote,
That is the radical simplicity that the apostle Paul possessed.
“For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:11-13).”
Notice that many Christians’ favorite promise verse, Philippians 4:13, actually applies to living a simple, contented life. We can do that!
Simplicity can be gained by making the conscious choice to have singleness of mind to celebrate the birth of our Savior and not get distracted by the glitz of the season.
May your heart rest in the simplicity and love of the manger.
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Read more about ways to deal with stress in “Are you Stressed or Blessed?”