Guest Post by Tabitha Caplinger
Christmas music is playing on my radio and cheesy holiday movies have filled my Netflix screen. (My daughters, 6 & 3, are already planning their Christmas morning present raid.) It’s impossible not to countdown the days to Christmas and my calendar is filling up with teas, parties, dinners, parades and programs. I would be lying to say that it doesn’t cause me moments of stress. When I have to run to the store because I forgot I have to bring a dish to that event my introverted, organized, planner mind starts to feel overwhelmed. (Let’s not even talk about the 13 hour drive ahead of me to see family over the holiday.)
But overall, my Christmas season is a peaceful time in my heart if not always in my head.
I don’t have a magic formula. I wish I did because we could bottle it and sell it and make millions. But I don’t. What I have is a simple thought…Perhaps our holidays are stressful because they expose already stressful lives. (I apologize if that stung a little.)
My husband and I talk about this all the time. We work very hard to prioritize our calendar all year long and the holidays are no different. The most powerful word in the English language is no. We say no to things that will wear us out, that will take needed time from family, that will stretch our bank account further then it should actually go. Saying no gives us the power to say a happier, more peaceful yes.
What does saying no mean for us?
- It means my kids aren’t involved in every activity that sparks their interest. Instead they choose what is most important to them.
- It means we have at least 2 nights a week that are devoted to quiet family time with no rushing to get somewhere.
- It means we don’t get everything we want because we choose to find ways to help others get things they need.
- It means my kids don’t wake up to a pile of Christmas gifts but just three as a reminder of the gifts Jesus received at His birth.
Saying no will look different for you. It should look different for you because we are different people with different goals, callings and desires. The point is to be intentional about your choices. Take inventory of how you are spending your time and money, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year and decide where a no will lead to a much more impactful yes.
Psalm 90:12(ESV) says, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
In short our prayer should be Lord, teach us to make each day count.
Prayer is the key. I don’t always know what I should say no to. Sometimes I want to say yes because then I look good or feel good. God knows what is good. He knows what is best for me and my family to get us where He wants us to go, not just today but in life. So we pray and ask for wisdom to live well, to make the day count.
When that becomes intentional in my life it will flow over into my Christmas. Then the holiday isn’t fraught with stress and fatigue. Instead it is filled with the joy of the Lord because I know I am pleasing Him, fulfilling His purposes for me and my family, and making a difference (even if it just feels like a small one) in eternity.
An extra benefit is teaching my daughters to center their lives around Christ, the reason for this season and beyond.
Tabitha Caplinger has been in student ministry for close to 15 years, and currently pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, Missouri with her husband Brian. They have two sassy daughters, Lila and Rory. Student Ministry is core to who Tabitha is; she loves discipling others and helping them see themselves through Jesus’ eyes. Her goal is for every young woman to be confident that, “she is loved more than she will ever know by someone who died to know her.” When not working, Tabitha and her family like taking in a good movie or walking through the park. She also admits to being a little obsessed with TV.
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