Perspective & the To Do List

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The Plague slowed me down this year and last year, and the year before that, too. And that is probably all well and good. We all need a little perspective sometimes when it comes to our Christmas “to do” lists.

The following post was written four six years ago when we were reeling from the death of my mother-in-law. I had a newborn. I had moved to a new city. I was completely overwhelmed in looking at my responsibilities. What resulted was a great lesson in perspective.

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 multitude of different 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.

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. Thanks for the reminder that it’s ok to not have it all perfect. In our miniscule, always remodeling something house, our Christmases have yet to be “perfect” – though I hope one day they will be closer to it, ha! This year I started early on my “to do list.” I haven’t made all of my “deadlines” but you know what, I shrug and say “it’s ok!” I’m glad to know that I’m not a loner in the “shrug” department. We know what is the most important: It’s Jesus’ birthday!!!

    1. We put such pressure on ourselves, but shrugging it off can be a really good thing.

  2. Our Christmas is really geared down this year. It is the first Christmas since I left my abusive husband also I was sidetracked with a case of pneumonia. We haven’t baked any cookies yet but we are okay with that. I bought both my girls’ presents as the Salvation Army this year and got 3 things for 10 dollars. I didn’t do Christmas cards and we are just looking forward to a day to play board games and be together. Now i must say my girls are 20 and 18 so that helps with the cutback Christmas. Both girls have requested only stockings next year so I will start to shop in the new year once we move. I am definitely enjoying Christmas this year without all the chaos!

    1. Blessings to you! It sounds like you have some wonderful, fresh starts to dream up! Rest up and recover…. first.

  3. Very similar story here. We lost a loved one. I’m in the middle of trying to figure out what’s going on with a tumor on my pituitary gland. I was laid off from my at-home job. It’s been a rough year, and I’ve scaled way back this Christmas. But that’s ok. It’s been good.

  4. Thank-you SO much for this post today. You made me cry and showed me how crazy I’ve been and for what? I needed this today!

    Merry Christmas to you & your family, God Bless!

  5. Again, thank you for sharing such a moving post … odd how does offer comfort to say it’s ok not to be all that and more. Funny, I was just gettng ready to publish a post about this Christmas not being the same and I’m ok with that. My list of things to do is being shortened by the minute as I cross items off that aren’t ‘important”. Thanks Jessica!

  6. Thank you for such a great post! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t ‘do Christmas’ the way people understand it. I don’t have a to do list, we’re not buying presents, we don’t even have a tree. I’m adjusting to life with two kids (second is a month old) and frankly I’m just looking forward to my husband being home from work for a couple of days. The only thing we did do is send out Christmas cards, as a birth announcement for our little one 🙂 To me the birth of Christ is something to be celebrated (or even more so His death and resurrection) every day, it feels silly to throw big parties to ‘commemorate His birth’ once a year – especially considering God doesn’t exist in time, He always IS!

  7. I am presently lying in the bed because of my sniffling, sneezing stuffy head fever so I can’t -but must rest day.

    This was a good reminder that it won’t be the end of the world if I don’t finish making those last 2 batches of cookies. What NEEDS to get done will get done. And if it means that I need to lean a little bit(and get some help from friends and family) then all the better. Celebrations are soo much better when they are SHARED.

    I think all of the commercialism this year really has made it harder for me to appreciate this season. It’s hard to appreciate the “specialness” of the Christmas season when they start barraging you with Christmas carols and the gamut down your throat before Halloween is even over. The whole entire rush towards Christmas meant now that it is almost here it feels surreal. I sure hope they aren’t going to do this every year.

  8. Thank you so much for this….I needed to read this today and maybe everyday for the next week or so!! We’re dealing with extra stress of travelling out of state to visit family and an unexpected job loss the day before Thanksgiving!! While we can’t spend as much on the gifts this year, we can enjoy more family time!!!

  9. Great post! After getting hit with the plague after Thanksgiving, I decided to scale down the pressure I put on myself during the holidays. It’s been good and also a fight to not allow myself to take on more than I can handle. I’m just sad we didn’t make it to any Christmas performances this year….but we have enjoyed almost nightly family movie night. 😉 Merry Christmas!

  10. Thank you. I really needed to hear this today. I haven’t sent cards this year or baked as many cookies as I would like. I think as women we do easily get caught up in trying to appear like we have it all together. And stress out when we don’t.

  11. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been down recently because I lacked enough money to buy presents for my sons. They’re older now, in their 20’s but I was depressed anyway. I prayed for God to help me gain perspective.

    He answered my prayer. Thank you again for sharing.

  12. Wow! Talk about perfect timing! the words “thank you” come to mind and yet don’t seem like enough. Hope you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season! 🙂

  13. Thanks for reposting this year! I needed this this morning 🙂 The plague has struck our family hard this year, and I feel like I’m grasping at straws to get “everything done”. Of course, some things don’t need to be done. Feeling good about letting things go now 🙂

  14. Thank you for this. So often we forget that Christmas ISNT”T for showing off. I needed that self reflection, and wisdom today. I need. Thank you!

  15. That’s exactly right! When we get to heaven God isn’t going to ask how many presents we bought or how many Christmas cards we sent out or even how many dishes we’ve washed. Good for you! Time with family and remembering why we are celebrating is what’s most important.(Also, throwing in as much as we can afford for those less fortunate.)

  16. Thank you so much! I needed this. Christmas has come and gone, but this will be good for the next one to come. It supose to be all about Him (God) anyway. It’s ok that I didn’t send any cards and bought very few gifts. God is so Good! I thank Him for people like you that shows love to others by giving your time to help another mother like yourself.

  17. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. Christmas should be about Christ not about me. I shouldn’t be the one who shines but Christ. As a missionary I need to really keep that in mind. What am I communicating to my world arounces me? My world is a little Indian village. Boy, I sure needed that one.

    In Christ’s love,