xmasmessWhen folks asked me last January, “How was your Christmas?”, I was stumped for a good answer because the upcoming holiday season starts with last Sunday’s Trunk or Treat. I love this time of year, but the church calendar can have a staff member, volunteer, and family reeling.

Planning freak that I am, the calendar has basically been set since last November. My heart’s desire is to fulfill church traditions, yet not stretch our WC families to the point of where I was last year. Yes, we baked the turkey, made the gumbo, prepped for pies, decorated the tree, and opened presents, but I didn’t watch not one Christmas movie, didn’t linger on the back porch with hot chocolate, and felt pressed to meet lots of expectations until MLK Monday in January.

Our gracious pastor closes the church office the week between Christmas and New Year’s, yet bulletins still need a-printing and bills still need a-paying. Rather than sitting on the sofa in my new flannels, I also take this window of time to serve on a Chrysalis Flight, the youth version of The Walk To Emmaus. It’s kingdom-building! Yeah, I get that it’s my own fault, but I love it all!

Working in the church office has me hitting the ground running January 2nd to close out the year, print the W-2s, set budgets, and prepare the files for the new year. Frankly, I was praying for a snow day last year…I know….in Atlanta…just to have a day to breathe. I did see Christmas lights each night as I drove home in the dark (oh yeah, the time change happens this weekend!), but it’s not the same as piling in the car with the littles or my honey to stroll through the neighborhoods. My strolling takes place in the aisles of Michael’s as I gather the last remaining silver bell and green pompom or on Amazon.com.

I don’t have the answer except that my awareness is so much greater this year heading into the season(s). This is when the people-pleaser in me rears its ugly head and I stare at the ceiling each night wondering if I left something undone. An awesome, sold-out-to-raising-her-kids-in-Christian-community Mom sat across my desk yesterday and we laughed about this very thing because the struggle is real. I would like to think I’d guard the white space better on my calendar, go to bed at a decent hour so I can get up earlier to linger in His presence, and not feel I have to be at everything because I don’t want to miss anything (more like arrive early and be the one who takes out the trash and turns out the lights).

I want to do it all, because I love it all! But I want a better answer this year when someone asks me “How was your Christmas?”

“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply-and how good is a timely word!” Proverbs 15:23