Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Well here we are dear friends.  Kicking off another short series.  Today, we begin talking about how to create a calm Christmas.  Honestly, I can't begin this series without speaking about some things I ran into at Thanksgiving, because they could easily happen for any holiday setting and without the proper heart tools it can't be any kind of calm.  It seems appropriate to begin this series here. I went into Thanksgiving with a very clear plan. (Red flag number one, yes?) I did not want even one surprise because I'm still deeply grieving my Daddy being gone and I didn't "need" anything surprising. Reflecting back, I can safely say that I dealt with just as many surprises as I normally do, and I've realized, that's just life.  The more people you have involved in a holiday event, the more unexpected surprises you're likely to field. Surprises are such a part of hosting any event.  Some aren't bad at all and some simply require an adaptable hostess.  I've learned that the bad surprises usually become hysterical stories one day, so it's good to think on that in the moment as well.  (Also, some surprises can turn into the best memories.  I didn't expect our entire family to be out in the driveway at dusk, taking turns riding a wooden go-cart down the street, laughing hysterically and cheering each other on wildly. But we did, and I'll probably never forget my mom taking a turn and my brother recording it for posterity.)

This year, I shared, about the five kernels. We have loved this part of Thanksgiving in years past and I don't know why but I didn't even consider that people wouldn't want to share deeply in this mixed group.  It was a combination of two sides of our family, plus some people that truly didn't know one another. It never occurred to me that some of us would be feeling super emotional with out my Dad there as well, so keeping away from emotion was going to be key in getting though the day. Why in the heck didn't I think about all of that while I was planning?  I have no idea.  My bad entirely.  Anyway, I read the story, nobody shared anything, and there was zero depth. Not really how I had pictured it.  All that to say... you can't go into ANY holiday and expect to bless others and be blessed, if you aren't flexible with what you thought it would be like.

FLEXIBLE.  I hate that word.  It totally doesn't go with my finely planned er... plans. Ha!

I think the moral of this story is that one can plan and plan and plan, but it's going to unfold however it's going to unfold.  You can't have a calm Christmas if you're gripping your plans and visions in clenched hands.  And sometimes, you have to draw and redraw boundaries for yourself so that if you simply can't handle not having a plan, you've cultivated a setting in which your plans can actually work out with the appreciation and cooperation you've been hoping for.  (Note, this option isn't one to chose regularly because it doesn't normally pan out.) (But you can try.) (As long as you're flexible.) (Ha!)

Through all of this, I've been learning that the only way to be gracious as a hostess, is to spend time with God, who is the author of grace.  I heard a beautiful analogy this weekend in church.  The pastor shared that when we are in a desert place (or a land with maximum holiday stress?) and feel that we can't go on any longer... we often hold our hand over our eyes, look into the distance over the scorching waves of sand, and see what looks like refuge. We see palm fronds waving gently and the promise of refreshing water... The problem comes, when we seek refuge in temporary things... and as we dive into those things, we realize they are a false refuge (think over indulging in anything for relief and the consequences of that).  Those things we turn to for relief other than God, are simply a mirage. We dive headlong into that false relief and end up with a mouthful of sand, no relief, and an aching heart that wants to quit.  However, when we seek God as our refuge He is always an Oasis. Sure and true, He offers cool water to our parched souls and shades us under His provisions and plans.

Don't you love that visual?  Holidays will always bring an element of the unexpected but it's Who we turn to that helps us handle it calmly.  

Here's to a C A L M   C H R I S T M A S


  1. Beautifully said...letting go of expectations brings so much freedom and calm!

  2. Well said. I love so much that you are blogging again, and your fun IG stories too!