An Action Plan for Christmas (Part 1)
Christmas is Coming... Do You Have a Plan for all the Chaos?
It’s October. What does that mean to you?
Are you enjoying the change in seasons? Football, cooler temps, colorful leaves, and all things pumpkin?
How do you feel about the holidays in the months ahead?
If you’re anything like me, there’s a mixture of warmth, joy, and excitement.
But the emotions don’t stop there, right?
I’m gonna be honest. I’m stressed just thinking about all of it. The to-do list is already scrolling in my mind, and I know I’ll never accomplish everything on it.
I feel defeated before I even begin.
Add to that 4 family birthdays- one in each month between October and January- and it’s a recipe for being overwhelmed.
As each year passes, I have become more resentful of the hustle and bustle in these months. Call me Mrs. Grinch because I’ve even secretly wished: “I must stop Christmas from coming… but how?”
Isn’t that sad?
A season of what should be joy, blessings, thankfulness, and intimate reminders of our Savior’s arrival to earth, too often becomes one of sadness, resentment, and unbridled stress. (If you feel stressed most of the time, click HERE for a helpful post.)
Something needs to change.
A change in perspective
Can we stop for a moment and acknowledge that we only have a certain number of years on Earth? And none of us know what that number is.
I don’t know about you, but I want those years to count; to focus on what really matters and cut out what doesn’t.
Have you ever prayed about the holidays?
Let’s take a moment and do so right now…
God, what are Your desires for me and our family this season? How can I show Your love to others- my spouse, our children, those around us? How do You want me to respond to all the busyness, expectations, and demands? What about time to myself? I’d really like some of that, too. Lord, help me evaluate not only the stress this season brings, but my attitude toward it. Help me to bring You glory and honor in ALL that I do this season. Amen.
There. We’re already off on the right foot. As long as our feet are planted firmly on the Rock and His Word, our October-November-December will be glorifying to HIM and fulfilling for us.
Vow to change: an encouraging call to action
First, download this Action Plan for Christmas, a free resource to help reassess your goals and make sure they’re aligned with God’s Word. It may not turn your house into the perfectly decorated winter-wonderland, but it will help focus your time and attention on what really matters.
Read on to dig deeper…
Task #1: List broad holiday categories that cause you stress.
Write down what bothers you during the holidays (or more generally, the October-November-December months).
Interactions with extended family
Anything else that comes to mind (my family’s 4 birthdays, for example)
This is a list of things you will pray about; it is just between you and God! He already knows what’s at the root of your holiday trepidations, but He wants you to know and understand. That’s where the work begins.
So be still.
And lay all those stressors on the table.
Task #2: List what makes you anxious about each category.
This step is critical, so please don’t skip it.
Anxiety is demanding, obnoxious, and persistent. Anxiety whispers half-truths like:
You’re too busy for this
You’re never going to get everything done
Your décor will never look as good as you want it to
What will people think when they show up to your house and it looks like this?
Is that all you’re making for Christmas dinner? Cheapskate.
Can you believe your in-laws expect you to travel to THEM for Christmas? Don’t they care how stressful it is to travel with kids, let alone pack for them?
Your husband just does not understand all you do for the family this time of year. You do everything. Without you, everything would fall apart.
It’s nice that your husband offers to help, but he just doesn’t do it the right way, does he? (If that’s hitting a cord, listen to THIS podcast)
Your husband should help, but of course he never does.
These are just a few examples; be sure to write out your own. Write down those things you’re thinking in the stressful moments. Those thoughts that keep you distracted and preoccupied- focused on that which has no eternal value or steals eternal value.
God knows we cannot push anxiety away by sheer will. That’s why He gives us an action plan to help live a soul-filling holiday season.
This takes us to the next task…
Task #3: List verses that will help when you are tempted to feel anxious.
The Bible is FULL of scriptures about anxiety, fear, and trust; the three are almost always intertwined.
Write down verses in which:
God encourages you to trust Him
God reminds you that fear, worry, and anxiety are NOT from Him
God puts things back into perspective and tells you about His priorities for life
This will be your go-to list. God’s truth to combat the temptation to toil. God’s perspective to help pause the perpetual laboring and pull you off society’s “hamster wheel.” God’s power to turn you back in step with the Spirit.
Here are a few verses to get you started:
Philippians 4:6-9 not only tells us what to do with our anxiety, but also what things we should be thinking about
Ephesians 4:25-31 reminds us how we ought to live and interact with one another- not just when it’s convenient or easy, but also when we’re stressed or overwhelmed
In John 14:1 & 26-27, Jesus reminds us we are NEVER alone. He has given us the Holy Spirit to remind, guide, and help us obey all that Jesus has taught. (John 16 also speaks to these things.)
Matthew 11:28-30 assures us that GOD’S burden is light and His yoke is easy. We get to choose: His rest or our work?
1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our anxieties on God, because He cares for us. THIS REQUIRES ACTION on our part. We bend toward stress, worry, and anxiety, especially in busy seasons. It’s in our nature. When we actively give our anxieties to the Lord, we will be walking in the Spirit, not in our flesh. And that is powerful, life-changing, even.
Don’t stop there. Keep searching scriptures for verses and passages that speak to you personally. Write them down. Memorize them. Carry them with you. Hang them in places you will frequently see them. Let them penetrate your heart and transform your mind.
Task #4: Make a holiday to-do list.
List everything from organizing decorations, to Christmas gift shopping, to meal-planning, to holiday concerts and family fun activities.
The scrolling mental-checklist will be in black and white.
Come before the Lord in prayer, asking for discernment and HIS guidance as you cross-reference your to-do list with your anxiety list. Ask the following questions:
Is this a must-do?
Is it dividing relationships? (If so, it must go!)
Does it bring glory to God? (If so, it must stay!)
Does it provide an opportunity to love His people? (Keep it, even if it comes at a cost to you!)
If this still feels overwhelming or confusing to you, rest assured that God is working. Keep seeking HIM in this season and every season, and He will bring peace to your heart.
For more encouragement, read the next post: Aren't the Holidays Supposed to Bring Joy? Why are They Stealing Mine?!
Check out the corresponding podcast episode: