Oh. My. Word.
Where oh where has the time gone??
Do you all realize Christmas is TWO days away?? What am I saying. Of course you do! I'm sure you are feeling the crunch just like I am. Pretty much every single person I've talked to recently doesn't feel ready for Christmas. I don't know for sure if it's because Thanksgiving was so late this year (I'm sure that has something to do with it), or if it's just because our lives are so friggin busy, and adding all the extra activities of the Christmas season just makes it extra-hectic.
Whatever it is, I want to just give you some encouragement today (I probably need it just as much as any one of you).
I want you to stop what you are doing right now. Working, wrapping presents, making Christmas goodies, cleaning your house in preparation for company, whatever it is you might be doing.
Now I want you to close your eyes and take a really deep breath. Not the kind that you do when you sigh. I'm talking about the kind that you breathe in all the way, you feel the tension in your chest build-up-build-up-build-up until it can't build anymore.
When you release, I want you to imagine all tension blowing away with your breath. I want you to imagine it just melting away, rolling down your arms and legs and exiting your body. I want you to end your deep breath with a thought of something you are thankful for - before opening your eyes. You can repeat this deep breath thing as many times as you feel you need to. Until you truly feel all your tension and stress has at the very least lessened significantly or at the most disappeared completely.
Now, when you are ready, you can open your eyes.
Now look around. Is there a Christmas tree near you? Take a short moment to enjoy the lights. Are your children near you? Watch them do whatever they are doing. Really just drink it in and enjoy them. Are there dirty dishes that you can see in your sink? Take a minute to thank God that you have food to eat that made those dishes dirty. Are you in a "sterile" work environment? Take a look around your work space and find one thing that you can enjoy. Just for a minute - wherever you are.
As you make your way through this Christmas season, I want to encourage you to do this as often as you need to to really truly enjoy yourself and rest in the true meaning of the season. Christmas is such a magical time of the year. It's filled with beautiful lights and music and wonderful sounds of children and adults just enjoying themselves. Join them. Don't worry so much about making it super perfect. Enjoy what you have. Make memories with your children. They won't remember the gifts anyway. They are going to remember how you made them feel. If you are stressed and not happy, or too worried about things to enjoy it, then they will be too.
So I want to encourage you to engage them in whatever you are doing. Be present. Turn the computer off and put down your iPhone. Love on them. Read to them. Make memories with them. Play with them. Delight with them in whatever they are delighting in at the moment.
Then, when it's all over, you can look back fondly and know that you weren't a downer because of stress. You were their light and love that they felt and that they will remember for years to come.
And if you start to feel the stress creep up, just breathe.
Many blessings to you this Christmas!