A Simple Christmas
By Tammye Hamilton
Remember when a few weeks until Christmas seemed like an eternity? Oh the anticipation of the big day!
When our children were young, we didn’t put the wrapped presents under the tree until after they were all tucked in on Christmas Eve. Mainly because we didn’t want them focused on the gifts and what they were going to get but also so they wouldn’t be tempted to guess or peek. Some surprises are worth protecting!
I am especially feeling that excitement this year because all of our children and their families will be with us for Christmas. I started planning our time together as soon as we heard they were coming.
Every year for the past few years, I have chosen a word to represent what I wanted for the holiday season. Last year I chose the word ‘Joy’. I focused on having a joyful season and even though we were a small group for our family, it was joyful.
This year as we get ready to celebrate our family traditions, I have chosen the word ‘Simple’. That might seem ridiculous knowing there will be at least 21 people in our house, including 6 children under 4. Okay, it is pretty ambitious.
But somehow I know that it will matter. Like my mother before me, I tend to go a bit overboard this time of year. I put a lot of expectations on myself and I have wanted things to be more perfect than peaceful, but this year I’m committed.
So here’s my plan.
Simple means simple. I am crossing things off my list that will add stress to this season of joy. I don’t have to decorate every surface of my house. Some of the decorations will stay in their boxes. Every meal doesn’t have to be impressive. There will be lots of pizza.
I will purchase and make fewer gifts. If ‘gifts’ is your love language this might be hard. Gifters need to find the perfect present for everyone on their list. We have a few of these in our family. We draw names every year (big family hint) and our children, who turn everything into a competition, work hard to “out gift” each other. The winning gifts are not the most expensive but the most thoughtful. Simple is the biggest blessing.
I will be present.These moments I will have with my family will come to an end all too soon. They will return to their homes in other states and countries. I will spend every moment I have with them.
If your children are small, you already know how fleeting the years will be. Being present in the moments matter. The way you live these special times together helps to shape your family identity.
These memories will become an integral part of their futures and what their families will look like. Let their memories be of you simply enjoying togetherness. They might remember a few special gifts but they will really remember and cherish those quiet and noisy moments together. Keeping it simple eliminates all that pressure and stress perfection wants to put on us.
When the Son of God was born in that smelly stable so long ago, nothing about it was perfect and yet everything was. He came for us. He came to be with us and to redeem us.
That is how simple the Gospel really is. I hope your Christmas reflects that simplicity. Whether your family is large or you are alone, you can marvel in HIs perfect Gift. He came for you.