How to Have a Stable Home This Christmas

It’s strange to return from November on the Equator to December in full swing in the Lone Star. To an unlit house, undecorated tree, unwrapped gifts. And six days of unturned Advent pages.

Motherhood and Christmas go together. It’s mostly up to Mom to hang the stockings over the mantle with care, to make the house happy and bright, to play Santa if she so chooses, to handle the wrapping and coordinate the baking and to keep Christ in Christmas…. It’s a pleasure and pressure pot, all this merry-making.

And throw in hectic calendars, three school band concerts this week, a 6 year old turning 7, a basketball game and the emotional ups and downs that sometimes accompany the holidays… oh, and jury duty on a Monday.

It’s enough for an undoing.

“Mom, we are so behind on Christmas,” my 6 year old said as I stood over an intimidating pile of unwashed laundry and unpacked suitcases.

She wanted to do the things of Christmas. And I was about to come unraveled.

Her words matched my own holiday To Do list, the one that reminded me that if we were really going to capture the magic, we would have to chase it down, and fill our days with pin-worthy recipes and memory-making and house-decorating, shopping and crafting, parties and handmade gifts in recycled jars.

She precariously carried a box of ornaments from upstairs where they’d been sitting since November-something. Itching to catch up, I opened the plastic lid and held a red glass Santa, a favorite from my childhood. And it slipped right thru my fingers and shattered.

Into a thousand bright pieces against the unforgiving tile.

Broken.

It left me feeling shaky.

It left me looking around for something stable.

how to have a stable christmas

My oldest rushed into the room frantically looking for her winter scarf that matched the cozy sweater that went with the tall brown boots. She turned the house and the atmosphere upside down as only a teen girl can do and before I could say ho ho ho, it was a winter storm of attitude and anger.

Peace, it’s what I crave. Not just in my home, but in my heart this Christmas.

Peace that says Rest.

Stop.

Don’t Do.

Be. Still.

Because this year, I’ve decided we won’t catch up. We won’t mark it all off our list. We won’t get the best cyber deals or go ice skating at the mall (thankfully). We won’t make homemade ornaments or trim our tree to be magazine worthy. There won’t be an Elf on our Shelf.

We will be behind this Christmas.

But isn’t that was followers do…stay behind? They are led. By a Leader. The One searchers found swaddled in a barn, born to die. To be the gift we unwrap this Christmas.

And He is saying Peace, be still. Not as the world gives, but as I give.

I swept up the glass on the floor and asked this Savior born in a messy stable and a broken world to give me a stable home this Christmas.

To fill me with peace, not more pieces, to quiet the raging, waiting list and help me focus on the unending gift of His presence. The Present.

How to Have a Stable Home This Christmas With Your Children:

1. Do less Stuff: Resist the urge to do it all. You don’t have to make all your gifts, compete with the neighbors, be Mom of the Year this season. It’s easy to get so tangled in the festivities that we are left exhausted and undone. I remember having a meltdown one year because I missed a couple of devotions on the Advent Calendar with my children. Oh, y’all. Christmas is not about doing and I’ve learned that the hard way.

2. Be the Gift: Want to bless those in your life? Want to give your kids the most memorable gift ever? Be the gift. Give your love and time. Turn off the distractions and live.

2. Stop Keeping Up: I’m not visiting Pinterest these days. Once I decided I can’t keep up with all the perfection of matching Christmas pajamas and hand stamped gift wrapping, the desire to keep up left me. We can get so wrapped up in doing Christmas, we miss the true meaning altogether.

3. Seek Peace: If you long for peace this season-in your home and heart- find Jesus. If you’re kids need peace, your marriage, He’s there. That’s where we will find peace.  Jesus is Peace.

4. Be Still: I love Ann’s new Advent Devotional, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. If I could recommend one resource, this is it:  It’s short, daily, doable chunks of inspiration (even if we are days behind). It’s a moment for our family to connect around the table, add an ornament to our simple Jesse Tree and pause our busy lives. I especially love the fill in the blank spaces for reflection.

5.  Be Led: Instead of following our culture down a sparkly-lighted path that demands more is more, be a follower. Be a disciple of Jesus, our leader. The great thing about our children is they will generally follow where we lead. He will guide us if we let Him.

Sometimes life can feel precarious and uncertain this time of year.

The only way to remain unshaken is to start at the stable.


Comments

  1. 3

    says

    Amen! We are doing the same thing around here this Christmas, enjoying Jesus, doing what we feel led to do and letting the rest go. Actually getting to enjoy Christmas!

  2. 5

    says

    This is exactly what I needed to hear tonight. I have been so focused on finishing our second quarter of school and getting ready for a bazaar, I’ve not put any thought into Christmas or Advent. I’ve been feeling guilty all day. This encourages me and reminds me of my main goal as a mom: to point my kids to the heart of Jesus! Blessings!

  3. 6

    Jennifer says

    Love this. This is the first year since my son was born (he’s 6 tomorrow) that we are in the same place for the whole of December AND Christmas Day. We have ALWAYS been in one place for the first two/three weeks of Dec then somewhere else for Christmas – I’m not talking driving two hours to Grandmas. We’re talking Australia to the US! (We live in Perth, Western Australia but I’m from Wisconsin). For the first time in 6 years I’m feeling the peace of Jesus and the Spirit of Christmas – because my life is not filled with an endless to-do list of things to accomplish before we leave; cramming several Christmas celebrations in across the globe. Its wonderful. My kids and I are taking the time – they are reminding, begging me – to do Truth in the Tinsel each day and they are GETTING it! Our school year ends tomorrow and then we’re officially on Summer holidays for two months. So we get 11 wonderful days of doing nothing together before Christmas Day. LOVE!

  4. 7

    Rachel says

    I am SO with you this year. My Christmas lights were up before thanksgiving (not turned on) and everytime I try to turn them on, they blow a breaker. Every. Single. Time. After one frustrating afternoon of trying to make sense of a system that DID work and now doesn’t, I gave up. We may not have any Christmas lights this year at all. I took all the decorations left to be out up and out them back in the attic. I don’t want the perfect house, I want to spend time making cookies for and with my family. I want to watch Elf so many times I need a year to get over the hangover. I want my kids and I to serve others who have less this season. I want them to see Jesus (that’s the biggie). Enjoy your holiday!

  5. 8

    Kristi says

    You have no idea how much your blog blesses me. We are very alike in heart and thought. Have a peaceful and stable Christmas this year. It’s definitely something we have to determine to have in this crazy culture and I still struggle with it, but each year attempt to cut out more and just focus on what God would have me do this season!

  6. 9

    Lynne Bee says

    Had a meltdown yesterday morning. Cannot find baby Jesus for my nativity tree. seriously. we just moved into our first home less than a month ago and I can’t figure out where to put our EVERY day stuff, let alone Christmas decorations. I made myself go off Pinterest…I could not take it anymore. I am not looking at anyones Holiday House tour either! I can’t even fathom coming from Kenya and Mercy House and switching gears to the good ol USA and Christmas hysteria. I, too, am longing for a stable Christmas. Thank you for your heart, your writing and being His servant. Praying for you and your family always

  7. 11

    says

    Wow, the timing is great. I seriously had to apologize to my daughter yesterday for being a BRAT over this whole “get it all done” season. There is balance. It’s less friends and teas for me and more time at home with them.

  8. 13

    says

    This was confirmation to what I had already been sensing in my spirit, but still struggling to do and be this season. My husband is a pastor and we just moved across the country, dumping all of our belongings in a new home last Tuesday. We have three children 6 and under. The pressure of unpacking and being ready to “enjoy the magic of Christmas”. Has brought me to tears more than once. Thank you!

  9. 14

    Yolanda says

    Kristen,

    I just read your post, and I’m in tears. You have written such a beautiful post that is so very excellent. Thanks for being so honest and transparent. Dear Lord, please grant us the wisdom to celebrate Christmas in the stable ways you’ve suggested, Kristen! I also, love following Ann Voscamp’s posts. You two ladies truly have a gift for writing encouraging words! May we never forget that this season is about Immanuel who is “God with Us”. Blessings to you and your sweet family.

  10. 15

    says

    Thanks, as always – for speaking to what is in my heart and mind. I tried to “step it up” this year, as my son is starting to be old enough to feel all of that magic. It has already felt overwhelming and not how I want to spend my holiday. This is such a wonderful reminder that the memories that matter aren’t the material things, but the time spent and the feeling in our home.

  11. 16

    says

    oh how happy I am to read this today. I am officially choosing to not add one thing this week. Nothing that isn’t already booked. Time to rest, reflect and heal my body. Remembering why we are celebrating

  12. 17

    says

    Oh, Kristen! Your post just reminded me that I FORGOT I HAD JURY DUTY yesterday!!! ACK!!! Will I be arrested?!?

    We don’t have a single decoration up. I feel really behind. But then again, I love not being caught up in the busy of it all. I’m looking forward to putting up the tree when we’re not rushed and we all have time to ENJOY it.

  13. 18

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