“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25 (NKJV)
Does the fact that Christmas is just ten days away make you cringe or even panic? Do you have a list of things that need to be done or purchased and realize that nothing has been crossed off your list yet?
For the past five or so years I have learned not to allow these things get me down. Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way when chronic illness crept into my life like a thief in the night robbing me of the stamina I once had in order to accomplish the things I thought I needed to get done for the Christmas season. I have learned that my home does need to be perfectly decorated; I do not have to bake everyone’s favorite Christmas cookie, candy, or cake; or have the perfect Christmas dinner; or the perfect tree with all the special trimmings; or spend a fortune for gifts.
I’ve learned that what people really want – those closest to us – is our special attention. We can find ourselves so busy with all the holiday trappings that we neglect the very people we claim to be doing all the fuss for.
This past Sunday afternoon I had a Women’s Christmas Tea for the ladies of our church in our home. I not only wanted to show my love and appreciation for each of them, but I also wanted them to know that we can have a wonderful time of fellowship without all the hype and fuss. I knew my limits as well. Other than the usual weekly cleaning that my husband always helps me with, I did not worry that everything had to look spotless or beautifully decorated. I decided that since it was an afternoon Tea, that the food would be simple as well. I furnished the hot tea and sparkling punch along with a tray of freshly baked scones and mini muffins purchased from my new friend who has a lovely Bed & Breakfast and Tea Room (The Maids Quarters) in Pottsville, PA. I had the ladies bring cookies for a cookie exchange using one dozen from each lady for all to share at the tea. To make it even simpler I purchased Christmas paper plates, cups and napkins. I did not want the focus to be on the food or a beautifully decorated table. I wanted the focus to be on the fellowship with one another as well as the real reason for this special season - Jesus. We had prayer and devotion; a white elephant gift exchange; Christmas Pictionary; and a great time of fellowship and laughter too. The two hours set for the Tea flew by way too fast!
This year there will not be any homemade cookies or candies from me. Although, those who know me are probably thankful to hear this since for some reason my cookies never turn out like they should. My husband and I will enjoy a few Christmas gatherings with the church, some extended family members and our small but precious family (mom and our daughter Heather and family). Knowing my physical limitations we chose carefully which gatherings we attend as well as limit the amount of time spent at each gathering so as to not overly exhaust myself . I’ve learned that I do not have to be supper woman and do everything myself. My daughter and grandson love to help with the Christmas preparations.
In simplifying my life I have been able to give the gift that each family member desires from me – the gift of quality time with ME. In so doing, we can all enjoy the real reason for this special season – God’s precious Gift to each of us – Jesus
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV)