"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 (NIV)
She knew what was truly important, even in the busyness of finding a place to birth the Christ child, her son. The inn was too full, and it was time. She justed needed to find a quiet place for the special moment... the moment that would change the world to come.
She considered all things the things that were spoken of her Son, by the angel, and the shepherds. He was the purposed, destined way of salvation for the world. She pondered those precious moments as it was all unfolding, and again over her lifetime.
There in the quietness of a stable, it says she treasured all these things and she pondered.
How about you? Are you treasuring the moments? Are you pausing to ponder? Is the frantic pace of Christmas currently playing a harried tune in your home?Take a few “fifteen minute breathers” and see how it helps to stop your world from spinning for a few brief moments!
Pour yourself a beverage. Just fifteen minutes with a cup of warm tea, hot chocolate, or apple cider can make a change in your momentum. Did you know that scrambling and working at a frantic pace, can actually reduce our ability to be productive?
Pause for a moment of prayer, or meditate on who He is and the reason we are celebrating this holiday season. Just take deep breath, take a pause, and ask Him to help you keep it all in proper perspective. Our expectations can be self-imposed, pressure-imposed, and plain old unrealistic. You are but one person. Don’t try to do it all. Do what you can, and only what you need to. Get help where you need it, and ask if it will really all fall apart if you don’t do the ____.
Keep your eyes fixed on what is really of the most importance, and be thankful. With the economic impact feeling felt world-wide, there are many doing without this year. We need to be thankful for we already have. Many are sleeping on the streets in the cold, eating out of garbage cans, and are dressed in rags. Are we focused on the people and real “Reason for the Season”, or are we worried about all the “stuff”?
Are we blessed to have family and friends that love us, and that we hold near and dear to our own hearts? It is sad, but true, that there are many who don’t even have any family, or friends.
Listen or sing along to some wonderful instrumental Christmas music. Music has such a powerful way of soothing the soul and changing the atmosphere. Just look at the power of worship music! Instrumental sounds, in particular, can bring a softening to the atmosphere and calm everyone down in the room. Of course, if you prefer something more upbeat that you can sing along with, by all mean do so!
Humming or prompting your family join in song to some wonderful old hymns can also be a gentle, nostalgic way of keeping the focus of Christmas. Many of the younger generation get a kick out of some of the older, classic arrangements, and are shocked to find out many of their newer contemporary arrangements are the “oldies” remade!
Play a game with your family. You many not think you can spare the time, but a simple game of “crazy eights”, “go fish”, or a game of your choice, can help the kids to feel like it is not all about the busyness of the church activities, shopping and cooking – but, instead recognize it is all about spending time with the ones you love, and especially their mom, dad, brothers and sisters.
Light a couple of candles. Holiday scents like cinnamon, spices, and pine are popular this time of year and help to set the atmosphere of “holiday” in your surrounding space. The soft flickering, and low glow of the candles creates a homey environment. Add the music, play a game of scrabble and string some popcorn for the tree, and you have got yourself some delicious family memories that you will always remember!
Bless a neighbour. Take a plate of cookies, attach a card or note and tell them how they have blessed you during the year! You could drop by with a thermos of hot apple cider, a crossword book, a puzzle for the children, or a basket of apples or clementines. Maybe it is the one who shovels your driveway when you are away at work... or waters your droopy plants from time to time... or collects your parcel from UPS... or is a senior who rarely has visitors... or is a single mom, with little help?Is there someone who rarely seems to have anyone stop by? Tell them that they are not forgotten. Let them know there is One who loves them!
Of course, you could always place your “basket of blessing” on their doorstep, ring the doorbell, and dash off to hide in the bushes! Keep them guessing...and get blessed... as they wonder who cared enough to do it!
Watch a Christmas classic. A half-an-hour of watching the Grinch, Frosty or Rudolph with your kids, can bring back as many fond memories for you with your loved ones, as much as creating new ones for your own family and friends! Break out the “smores” and candycanes!
Go Christmas caroling around you neighbourhood. Gather some friends or neighbors together, and go up and down a couple of the nearby streets. You would be amazed how many of our “seniors” are blessed with fond memories of their childhood from away back in the days of horse and carriage! Gently falling snowflakes in the lamplight during your stroll could only enhance the joy of the evening stroll!
Remember that these fifteen to thirty minute moments of refreshment will do wonders - just like a ten minute nap. This will be the moments that are most remembered - long after the busyness and material things are long done and gone.
Merry Christmas to all of you, and may you blessed with all the richness of the season!