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In Search of Peace and Joy

November 30, 2012

In Search of Peace and Joy

After a week of dealing with a marathon migraine and now a cold in the head, I kinda feel like this picture.

The twinkle lights are shining all over my house, peace and joy ornaments are covering the trees (yes, treeS) and I’m not really feeling it.

It doesn’t happen automatically, this. The holiday season has become such a frenetic mayhem of festivities, we hardly have time to breathe. Despite our efforts to simplify, and reduce what is bought, the checklists and honey-dos and get-er-dones are endless.

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Finding peace and joy amidst the Christmas Crazy is a deliberate act. What can we do to reclaim it?

Stop and Enjoy. Once all the decorations are up, take five minutes each day to sit and enjoy them. Admire your ornaments. Remember where they came from, and who gave them to you. I’ve been collecting ornaments since our honeymoon in Quebec, and each and every one provides a dear memory. Give yourself permission to take a few moments each day to enjoy them.

Go for a walk. Go outside on a clear night and look up. Those are the very same stars, the very same sky, that Mary looked upon as she traveled that road, heavy with child, to Bethlehem. The very same sky that was filled with throngs of angels rejoicing. We watch a lot less TV in December because after dinner, we bundle up and walk around the neighborhood to see the lights. Sometimes the best things in life really are free. 

Play. Sit down and play with your kids. Don’t worry about the dishes or the laundry. Just play. We have a Playmobil set of Bethlehem that we store with the Christmas decorations, so it’s a brand-new delight for the boys every year. Last night we re-dressed all the wise men and gave them new beards and crowns.

Watch It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s hard to feel jaded about the holiday season when you are watching Jimmy Stewart rediscover the sweetness of true friends. This has become a family tradition for us every year, and every year I cry buckets when George finally gets it. 

Put up a Nativity. Or two. I have several, all gifts from dear friends. My favorite, though, belonged to my mother. I unwrap each porcelain figure and sometime tear up as I imagine that night, their delight and awe. Emmanuel. Right there in the straw. God with us.

Don’t give stuff. We all have enough stuff, don’t we? Take a page out of the Advent Conspiracy and give time, give meaning. Time is a valuable commodity, especially in December! We bake our love into edible gifts for friends, or we give a single ornament each year. We try to schedule dinners with the ones we care the most about, or have an open house so we can actually spend time with them.

What do you do to keep the meaning of Christmas alive during this crazy busy season?

How do you keep peace and joy shining bright in your home?

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Check out the series 31 Days to Shine – 31 days of blogging about a life that glows through the cracks and broken places. 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Bethany Hall Fitelson permalink
    November 30, 2012 4:38 pm

    This is a great reminder of practical ways to enjoy the season, both the holiday magic and the nativity miracle. Thanks for the great ideas!

  2. November 30, 2012 7:46 pm

    Your list is a savoring list! Slow-living the blessings of the season. Thanks for the reminders!

  3. December 5, 2012 11:16 am

    The traditions we partake in helps keep the family unified. :O) and thank you for posting the Advent video. Always worth watching again and again.

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