In my last guest post, I told you a little about the life of a pastor’s family during the holidays. Something I didn’t tell you is how my husband gets angry at all the Christmas decorations in the stores after Halloween. He believes in celebrating each holiday fully as it arrives, rather than devaluing Christmas with buying, buying, buying.
I agree. Much of the busyness associated with December should rightfully be done at Thanksgiving, when our focus rightfully should be on all God’s blessings. I’m no theologian, but I believe Christmas is supposed to be Christ’s birthday. Devote your work to the holiday at hand. That will save you stress in December and put an extra sparkle in your step in November.
*If you’re hosting the Thanksgiving meal, send invitations–you can get them in any store that sells cards–and in them, tell everyone specifically what they can bring. Travelers can bring nuts, candy, pop, or chips. And do tell guests to bring something. The day is named Thanksgiving, not Martyr Day.
*Take nighttime hikes in November. My son’s second-grade teacher at Homan Elementary, Miss Smith, gave his class an assignment to chart moon phases every night. Such a simple assignment was so grounding. A mom living in Northwest Indiana 150 years ago would’ve known moon phases automatically, but I have no idea when the full moon is unless I look in my planner. Don’t be too hard on me: I’m never out at night: My kids go to bed at 8, and it takes time to get them there.
*It’s for Thanksgiving I assemble goodie bags for Sunday school teachers, bus drivers, and the like to say I’m thankful for them. Besides, it’s one less thing to remember for Christmas, and they’ll probably remember it more than the torrent of gifts they’ll get in December.
*You might think a November hike is dull after leaves have fallen, but this is one of my favorite times to walk in Oak Ridge Prairie. The leaves are at their crunchiest, and the air is brisk and invigorating. There’s nothing like bundling up in a blanket on the way home and drinking hot chocolate before the fire.
*Simmer apple cider on the stove, and bake cookies on a Saturday work day around the house. Every time my kids do a chore, I reward them with cider and cookies. Lots of parenting experts say you shouldn’t bribe children, which is true, but they also must learn that if they don’t work, they don’t get paid.
Just when you thought you were safe, I’ll visit you on Clair’s blog one last time to discuss enjoying the holidays peacefully and joyfully. Until then, remember that, whether you realize it or not, you are blessed.
Rebecca Bailey loves the clothes at Justice, but it would look odd for a 42-year-old woman to be wearing a spangled miniskirt on her thigh. (That’s the only place it would fit.) She writes the Crazy Mom column for The Times of Northwest Indiana and is wife of the pastor at Griffith Lutheran Church. She’s also mom of four kids, ages 10, 8, and 5 (twins). Check out her blog at http://www.wormsoup.wordpress.com, and e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.