It’s Fall, Y’all!
It’s fall, y’all! Bring out the cute boots, those colorful sweaters, and grab that Pumpkin Spice Latte or that Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. For that matter, you can find pumpkin just about anything! Pumpkin hummus, pumpkin Cheerios, pumpkin Twinkies, pumpkin yogurt…even pumpkin dog treats. It’s time for football. It’s outdoor festivals and perfect weather for every kind of outdoor activity. It is a beautiful season.
But, if you listen closely, you can hear the ticking of the Christmas Clock. The decorations are already out, the commercials are beckoning you, the ads on social media will continue to come faster and faster…and for many moms this is the beginning of an ever-increasing season of stress. Halloween appears, Thanksgiving quickly jumps in and then, it’s Christmas.
On top of a year that has already been a difficult one…the stress can start to ramp up in a hurry.
Xmasclock.com will tell you exactly how many days, hours, and minutes it is until Christmas.
I’m suggesting we start early this year. No, I’m not talking about decorating or shopping or baking. I’m suggesting that we start praying now, asking our Father in heaven to help us prepare for a truly meaningful holiday season.
There were years when I was too ill to do everything involved with the holiday festivities. I remember asking my children to fill in the blank: It won’t be Thanksgiving without ________.
And it won’t be Christmas without___________. Their answers never included material things. The meaningful part of the holidays are the memorable, repeated activities and the time spent with family and friends. It may also be the glass red bowl that holds the cranberry sauce, the new Christmas ornament, or the reading of the Christmas Story. It might be leaving the cookies and milk for Santa or mailing letters to the North Pole. The truly meaningful moments of the holidays do not require maxing out our credit cards. The truly meaningful moments of the holidays do not require getting consumed with unrealistic expectations.
So how should we pray?
Start praying now for all the relationships in our families. One of the major stressors is uncomfortable conversations. Pray for softened hearts, an overflowing of kindness, and self-control. Proverbs 16: 23-24 —The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Start praying now about resisting the temptation to overspend and overdo. We can miss the heart of the holidays in the hustle and bustle of the season. Let’s be good stewards of God’s resources (doesn’t it all belong to Him?) and focus on those things that are eternal.
Start praying now about how we can serve others during the holiday season. Don’t just make a gift list, make a giving list. Do you know someone who lost a loved one this year? Be intentional about creating some unhurried time to spend with them, even if it is just by phone.
When my mom became unable to write Christmas cards, I remember her writing on her calendar … Christmas Cheer Calls. She usually had at least two days marked where she spent the entire day calling people just to wish them Merry Christmas and spread a little Christmas cheer. How I loved hearing her words and her laughter as she connected with people all over the country.
In this time of Covid, small charities are suffering greatly. Their primary methods of raising funds have been severely limited. Perhaps our time, energy, or resources could make a big difference for a worthy organization.
It is also not too early to be thinking and praying about end of year giving to our church.
2 Corinthians 9:7 – Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Start praying now to avoid the pitfalls of uncontrolled indulgence. Yes, we know that Americans routinely gain 8-12 pounds over the holidays. We neglect our sleep. We neglect exercise. We neglect our healthy habits all the while saying, “But, it’s a holiday!” Ladies, the last time I looked Thanksgiving is just one day and so is Christmas. We can’t justify starting the slide with the first Halloween candy bar and continuing it all the way to January 2nd. Let’s pace ourselves and do our best to honor our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, He asks, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
In a follow-up post, we will talk about the wondrous variety of holiday traditions.
Lean into Jesus! Enter into a season of prayer. Release the stress. Embrace the joy.
My prayer for you is that this will be a meaningful and memorable holiday season.
Let’s talk about it…
- What is your favorite holiday memory?
- What traditions have you carried forward and what new traditions have you added?
- What generates the most stress in your life as the holidays approach?