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Nov 29, 2012

Using December Creatively

Becky Cooke

   The approaching holidays may seem daunting with all the extra preparations and shopping hours to be added to your already full schedule of homeschooling and parenting. Do you feel behind the eight ball, trying to finish the school semester while planning for Christmas? Is your grace tank running on empty? Before falling into the holiday blues, I want to suggest some ways to reorient your vision and to take advantage of your resources.

   You’ve heard it said, “Remember the reason for the season.” If Jesus is really preeminent in this season, your focus will quickly switch to contemplating His birth. Everything else will fade in comparison. (Remember the chorus of the hymn: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”) A book I’ve enjoyed reading at this time of the year is The Birth by Gene Edwards. It will give you a whole new way of looking at that marvelous event.

   Now that your eyes are looking in the right place, I recommend lowering your expectations. It’s taken me years to realize that it is not necessary to decorate every inch of my house, or have the tree trimmed just so, or bake 10 varieties of cookies, and on and on. What a relief to let that go! In addition, expectations about family need some revamping. Moms, we cannot make everyone happy or satisfied, but we can determine not to let it spoil the overall day or season. Bring those concerns to the Lord and leave them there for Him to take care of.

   While lowering your expectations, consider increasing your family’s participation. Elicit your teens to do the decorating or some of the baking. They may enjoy being put in charge of buying stocking stuffers or gifts for younger siblings. Maybe they can initiate some secret projects for their brothers and sisters to create as gifts for family members and relatives. Speaking of relatives, are some coming to visit this month? Ask your teens to prepare the room(s), adding some special touches of welcome. Are you thinking, “They don’t have time either; they must finish their school work or they will fall behind?” Is there really such a thing as being behind in homeschooling? What your teens learn from participating and serving others (including you) will be invaluable lessons to take with them into adulthood.

   Above all, to banish holiday blues, it’s absolutely necessary to trust the Lord. Trust Him to make extra time in your day for His list to be done rather than yours. Trust Him for physical strength and a full tank of grace. Trust Him to fill the gaps in what you think needs to be accomplished and to multiply your efforts for His glory. Trust Him to reveal Himself to you, your children, and your guests. He never fails and will turn your blues to radiant sunshine. Enjoy reveling in Jesus this season – the real reason for it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts,

Becky

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