This was originally posted December 2010 in another blog.

The holiday season is officially upon us. Some have engaged in the madness of Black Friday and others have engaged in a flurry of decorating and baking. The pressure to get out cards and buy gifts and attend every concert can be a bit overwhelming.

I have the addition of a child with a birthday this month too, and I don’t want her day of celebration to get lost in the rush to Christmas. After all – her birth is special to me and the fact that God allowed her to live through a medical crisis after birth, makes the gift of my daughter even more precious.

So, I have to learn to say “no”. I’ve done this in previous years as well. The world will not stop if I fail to go to my mother’s Christmas concert. The musical being put on in town looks delightful, but one more night away from home will not necessarily fill my cup. Yes, I do have some commitments and I am delighted to be able to serve and use my gifts, but I’m trying to be very careful about that. I want moments where we are simply home. To play Uno, or Jenga or maybe watch “Charlie Brown Christmas,” with my kids. They have already given thumbs down to my favorite, “White Christmas” so I might not get my Danny Kaye fix this year.

I have little money, energy or time to simply be home and ‘create”. I used to always make our Christmas cards. Not doing it this year. Sorry, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like you. Honest. Supplies, time and stress? Not going there. I would have had that done before Thanksgiving if I were going to do it anyway. You and I will both live as I know a card from me will not make your Christmas any richer.

The economy is hard and many are cutting back. Can you do that and be okay with it? To realize that relationships are more important than things? I’m not saying I don’t like presents, I do! However, I am finding as I grow older, that there is something precious in time spent with a friend. Or writing a note to someone to express how I feel about them. Those kinds of things build into people and the impact of that can go on beyond a mere box wrapped in shiny paper and a bow. So I want to challenge you – in the next few short weeks – how can you rest and reflect more on Christ’s birth? How can you find time to simply enjoy holy moments with God – and with others?

Consider Mary’s response to the marvelous and confusing events surrounding Jesus’s birth: But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luk 2:19 ESV)

Treasures need to be sought after and cherished. I love the quiet of early mornings while the house is still asleep – the lights of the Christmas tree and peace. I need to make these moments count and not get distracted with other things. In the midst of the challenges and disappointment of life, my prayer is that you will find moments during this advent season to treasure Christ.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (2Co 9:15 ESV)