It's easy in all the preparations to lose sight of why we're doing all the things...
Christmas Eve is usually a busy day. You may be hosting family, preparing celebratory food, or wrapping presents. And maybe you’re doing all of the above. Unfortunately, having a to-do list on a day off, with the added pressure of the expectations of such a big important feast and holiday, can make life far from peaceful. The following are a few little ways to maintain a sense of calm on this holy day.
Sing along with the carols that you or someone else has playing. If there aren’t any going, turn some on! It’s very hard to stay stressed or upset when singing. This also works wonders when you’re irritated with someone’s behavior — be that a spouse, a child, or a visiting cousin. If you both sing along to a familiar tune, it can really turn a tense atmosphere around. Try Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
2Keep Baby Jesus in your pocket...literally
Find a baby Jesus from a small Nativity scene in your home. Or maybe you have a tiny religious ornament from your tree that fits in your pocket. A rosary or holy medal works as well. Putting a reminder of the reason for the season in your back pocket goes a long way. You may forget it’s there once you get busy, but if you bump into something or someone, or go to grab something else from your pocket, you’ll get a little reminder of what all the fuss and stress is about … celebrating the birthday of our Lord and Savior. And if you remember, try holding it in your pocket for a second when you realize it is there, and say a quick prayer. Thank you, Jesus for this day; I offer it all to you.
3Accept help when it is offered
Even if the way someone is going to help is not how you would do it, accept their help. Does that mean that the table won’t look as nice as you think it should look? Does that mean that the gravy is going to be a little clumpy? Or the presents will be put in gift bags instead of wrapped? Maybe. But while it seems like it matters a lot in the moment, in the long run, it doesn’t matter as much as your sanity. Say “thank you” graciously, and get a little dose of humility as well as one more task checked off your list.
Without Martha, Jesus and his apostles may not have had any food to eat when they visited Mary and Martha. But Jesus tells Martha that she is “anxious and worried about many things” and that Mary has chosen the better part. You probably need to be a Martha today and get food on the table. But if you can do so with some of Mary’s focus on what’s most important, how beautiful that would be!
So try to get rid of any unnecessary tasks and/or expectations for how this day should go. Don’t let resentment and frustration build up. Happily accept the assistance of others. And if you have a song on your lips and Baby Jesus in your pocket, you can conquer the remaining tasks with joy and a little more calm. Merry Christmas!