More Important than Your To-Do List

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The following was originally written last December 21st. While my to-do list looks different this year, the sentiments still ring true. May your heart be centered on what really matters this Christmas.

Four days left. December 25th looms on the calendar. Are you ready?

It seems that there’s this big, frantic deadline approaching. In years past, I’d be feeling anxious by now.

I haven’t baked but one kind of cookie.
I haven’t driven around looking at Christmas lights with the fam.
I haven’t even addressed a single Christmas card.

But, this year. I’m not worried about it.

I read somewhere, can’t remember where, about how the holidays are a time when the pressure is on for women to be at their best and to show off. It struck a chord with me because I think many of my Christmases Past have been about just that, showing off.

There was a time when I felt I had to have it all together. Handmade Christmas cards written and mailed by December 1, tree perfectly trimmed, a dozen different kinds of cookies baked, presents handmade and gift wrapped in some creative, elegant way. Christmas carols playing in the background. It was really important to me to prove that I had it all together.

Or at least fake it really well.

This past year has been a major roller coaster ride: job change, cross-country move, life with SIX KIDS, and the loss of a loved one. All of these things have revealed to me how incredibly weak I am.

I do not have it all together.

There’ve been moments of desperation when I realize the challenges I’m up against and how terribly unequipped I am to tackle them. And this Christmas, instead of faking it, I’m just kind of shrugging. I may not have it all together, but I know someone who does. God, in His infinite wisdom, created us with weaknesses. And our weaknesses prove to us how good and wonderful He is.

He can keep track of the details, right down to the hairs on our heads.

He can feed the multitudes with very little in the cupboard.

He can silence a raging storm.

And these truths bring me great comfort. I may not know or understand all the events of the past week or past year. But, God does. And He is so infinitely more capable than I. So, I am going to rest and rejoice this week. It’s not all going to get done, but that is okay.

After all, the point of this week is to celebrate the fact that Jesus came. Though born a babe of humble beginnings, the God of the Universe chose to come and live among us. He was born under a law that no one but Himself could keep. He knew temptation, but did not sin. He died in the place of sinners, so that they might be reconciled to God. And He defeated sin and death. He rose again and lives at the right hand of the Father.

He came. He saw. And He conquered.

Way more important than getting everything checked off my list.

May you rest and rejoice in the midst of all the craziness this week.

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  1. I'm shrugging (a little bit) this year too and I know it's ok. Your words are ringing true. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amen, Amen, Amen. May you and your family have a joyful Christmas filled with many happy memories.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. This Christmas is one of the hardest of my life, and I feel bad for my kids because I haven't been thinking about Christmas much. My brother passed away on November 30th, and we just moved. On top of that, there are other little things that we're having to deal with. It's just been tough. I've had to just do the same… not worry about all the little things that I didn't get to do this year. And, you're right; it's about Jesus anyway.

  4. You are so right and it is so easy to get our focus off the most important – we are celebrating the birth of our Savour!

  5. Amen sister- thanks for reminding me that "we" and our expectations are not the reason for the season. happy holidays!

  6. There's a song I love that says somthing like this.

    "Give me a simple kind of Christmas, take away the worry and the care.

    So I can linger with the family, talk about the good times and sing the Savior's praises

    I want a simple kind of Christmas where Jesus takes first place!

    Maybe the most admirable woman of all is the one who stops to "Be still and know that He is God."

  7. You read my mind. During this time of the year I have to focus hard to keep my priorities in check. Thanks for your encouraging words and reminder.

  8. Since I started having children I've had to learn to let things go. I figure out what I REALLY want to do & let the other things go. I try to remember that as the children get older we'll be able to do more. It's definitely helped me stay focused on what's really important (Jesus). We haven't even done the advent readings this year but I have the advent tree up. Maybe next year we can do one more thing we didn't do this year. We'll see. Next year we'll have three children instead of two. What a whirlwind. SO, glad my shopping is done, even if I don't have the gifts wrapped, yet. It'll get done. And I, too, have only baked one thing. Sorry for the long post.

  9. Yikes.

    Needed to read this in a BIG way today.

    My gifts aren't wrapped (I've not even finished buying them!), my house is a disaster, we've hardly looked at lights, and we haven't baked Sugar cookies yet.

    But my little people don't need to learn that these are the most important parts of Christmas. There is only One real reason to celebrate.

    Thanks 🙂

  10. What a beautiful post, Jessica!

    Last year, I had all kinds of big plans. And then in December we faced 3 weeks of the stomach flu, a trip to the ER in the middle of the night, the deaths of two people we loved, a miscarriage and the diagnosis of a blood disorder in our then-15 month old followed by a hospital stay. By Christmas Day, I was exhausted and depressed.

    This year, I have a beautiful new baby, I'm working full time and we took a vacation right in the middle of the Christmas season, but I am not stressed at all. I knew life would get in the way, and I started scratching things from my to-do list until only the best remained, and it's been AMAZING!

    No, you won't be getting beautiful handmade cards or delicious homemade cookies from me, and my grandmother is the one who has wrapped most of our presents, but the girls and I have baked together almost every morning for the last 10 days, talking about why we celebrate Christmas and just enjoying each other.

    I hope it's a lesson I never forget!

  11. thanks for the reminder; now if I can just get my family to realize that seeing us is much better than me mailing out cards….I hate that guilt

    but I am going to mail out valentine cards (&yes with pictures of the boys)

  12. I haven't been by in SO long. I love this post (and all the others). This has been a crazy year for us, but has reminded us how much we do have to be thankful for.

  13. This was something I really needed today. While every other day I did feel like I was shrugging though we didn't get out as many cards as I would have liked and I didn't get all the baking done I had hoped…it was OK.

    Until Today. Not sure why but suddenly all of the undone things that I haven't worried about came crashing down on my shoulders.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  14. Thank you for sharing this. I am catching up on your blog now and I needed to read this. Christmas didn't turn out as nicely as I would have liked and I've been pouting instead of focusing on enjoying my family during the days left before work and school start again.