But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Luke 10:40
It doesn’t take much effort on my part to act like Martha wondering where everyone (or anyone) is to help me. Here in the United States, we just laid to rest the Thanksgiving turkey as well as Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year. Gone are the expectations, the strained conversations around the dinner table, the long lines at the store, and the cooking, until Christmas when we do it all over again only this time on a much larger scale.
The busyness of the Christmas season is upon us and where busyness resides the most is upon the shoulders of the woman, the wife, the mom. Not sure about this? Ask yourself if you see more women or men standing in line at the stores to pick up the gifts, the decorations, and the food items to pull off Christmas?
It’s clearly the woman because we are the cultivators in the relationship. We are the ones who build up our homes, i.e. create the traditions, are more apt to plan the parties, and want everything to look Pinterest perfect. I’m not saying men aren’t interested in these things or don’t do these things. What I’m saying is it’s more likely that the woman desires the connectedness with her people, thus she plans for the days ahead.
But if I’m not careful, the Martha in me will be showing up at my house this Christmas- uninvited, I might add.
I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. One part of me longs to be like Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet. I want to slow down and breathe in all of Christ during this wonderful season. But my reality says I need to decorate the Christmas tree, shop for presents, prepare food, and on and on. Hmmm, I’m beginning to look a lot like Martha.
But having an overwhelmed soul is not on my to-do list.
How to Avoid Being Overwhelmed this Christmas Season
Have a plan.
Know ahead of time how much you’re going to spend and who you’re going to buy for. Then batch your items. Can you go to one place for most of your shopping? Perhaps buy the bulk of what you need on-line? If so, do it all in one day (or half-day depending on your schedule.) Batching keeps you focused on one thing and it creates efficiency. In the end, you might be exhausted from a day of shopping, but in the long run, you have saved a lot of time.
Time management is your friend.
Over 20 years ago, I used to plan citywide special events for a living. Some events spanned several days with several thousand people in attendance. I needed to plan in advance for the streets to be closed and police officers scheduled to work the events. Needless to say, I had to do an awful lot of planning, scheduling, and coordinating. Time management had to be an area I mastered in order to pull off events that paying people attended.
To me, pulling off a Christmas celebration isn’t much different than what I did back in the day. The only difference is today the event is on a much smaller scale and I don’t get paid to plan a Christmas celebration. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Take out a calendar and start planning today what your celebration will look like. Then start planning and doing. Cross things off your list so you’re not rushed and running behind because a rushed woman is an overwhelmed woman. Soon you’ll be barking out orders to others just like Martha.
Christmas comes around every year but it is never the same. Some years we’ve had money to spend and our celebration was extravagant. There were years we lived in big houses and had several people over while other years we lived in a tiny house and we spent the holidays elsewhere. Last year, Eric didn’t get paid for four straight months and one of those months was during the Christmas season. Our Christmas gift-giving consisted of our church giving us gift cards to shop at the local Walmart.
Ask for help.
Are you entertaining this year? If so, ask for help. Have littles in tow? Ask for help, have someone else host the gathering, or serve up food from a local restaurant. Been there. Done that. And it was the best food I never made.
Ditch the guilt.
God did not create you to be Superwoman. There are some seasons in a woman’s life that it’s just not possible to carry on as you once did. Whether it’s a financial hardship, a severed relationship, a season of ill-health, death of loved ones (both my parents died at Christmas time). Life is different during these difficult seasons, and thus so is Christmas. When storms rush in at Christmas, learn to look for Christ. Seek out His presence. Rest your weary soul in Him.
Do what brings you joy.
What is it in your life that you absolutely love during the Christmas season?
Is it making cookies?
Shopping for gifts?
Giving to or serving those in need?
Making traditional foods?
Listening to Christmas music? (This is my #1. Especially as I sit gazing at my lighted Christmas tree.)
Gathering with old (or new) friends?
Attending a Christmas choir or production?
Sipping hot chocolate while decorating the Christmas tree?
Find your thing and make sure you take the time to do it. Delight your senses and you’ll awaken (or create) some good memories.
When joy is in your heart there’s not much room left to feel overwhelmed.
Live a poured out life for Christ,