Christmas time leaves me feeling a bit frazzled.
Last night I realized that I haven't, not even once in the whole two weeks we've had our Christmas tree up, slowed down enough to just sit in the dark and stare at it's beautiful lights. I haven't sung one spontaneous Christmas carol (though Asher and I did have a great dance party to "Go Tell it on the Mountain") and I haven't, for more than a moment, thought about the miracle of Christ's birth.
In all honesty I feel a bit like Martha in the New Testament who, wanting to make things perfect for Christ, was "cumbered about much serving" and begged Jesus for more help. In response Jesus, oh so kindly, reminded her that she was using her strength for things that weren't important. While on the other hand her sister Mary, who was spending her time sitting at the Savior's feet, was choosing "the better part." (Luke 10:39-42)
I've made a promise to myself that this year I am going to choose "the better part" when it comes to Christmas celebrations. I still very much enjoy the gift giving and family holiday traditions, they are important to me, but I am not going to let those things start"cumbering me".
I have promised myself that this year I will spend less time thinking of what gift to give those I love and instead be more present with them (no pun intended... really).
A promise that I will spend more time on my knees and in my scriptures than I do shopping or ordering things online.
A promise that I will take time every day to slow down and be still; to sing Christmas hymns in the dark to my babies, snuggle on the couch with my husband, and admire the Christmas tree lights.
A promise to drink a cup of hot apple cider very slowly and watch the squirrels run around my yard, to brave the cold and play in the snow, to not let the bell ringer at the grocery store's bucket go empty, and to visit those who might be lonely or sad.
Most importantly, a promise to make time to ponder about-- and express my gratitude for-- the immeasurably divine gift of a Savior.
I am setting aside the MARTHA Stewart sort of Christmas and am aiming for a MARY sort of Christmas this year.
How about you?
What do you do to keep Christmas focused on Christ?