About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Lord
    Asking you for strength, your strength and bless me with good health and energy!! To set an example for my children on what the season is truly about, above Santa and gifts…the story of your birth and how blessed we are for you and the sacrifices you made! Amen!!

    Great post and reminder Jennifer as we head into the Christmas season!

  2. Jen,
    Twinkling lights on (along with grace), Guilt off. If I could only pick three things to set out at Christmas, first would be my advent devotional and my Jesse tree. I look forward to Dec. 1 to intentionally prepare my heart for Christmas. Second would be my nativity set that is carved from olive wood from Bethlehem. It gets a special place front and center. Third would be my tree. Our eclectic hodgepodge of ornaments reminds me of sweet and bittersweet memories (the birth of children, pets who’ve passed, crafts made with love). And yes…dance in the kitchen to Christmas music, even if your children are grown. Great reminders to focus on the “Whom” this season is all about!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev –

      We’ve done our Jesse tree for years too, and it’s one of my favorite Christ centered traditions, but last year, after doing it for 20 years, I didn’t get it out. That was not okay so hunting it down this year for sure.

      xoxox
      Jen

  3. I’m singing a holiday hallelujah for this-> “the little things are the big things.”
    And so far, I’ve been pretty strategic this year on maintaining space for those little things. In my case, it’s little people: two grandchildren who love to bake cookies with me, and who need to have read to them all the Christmas story books we’ve collected over the years.

    • Oh, I can’t wait to have those moments with our grand kids. Such wonderful memories you’re creating, Michele. 🙂

  4. Jennifer,

    Society makes the holidays all about buying & spending. Everyone needs gifts. If you think about it Jesus is the one “real true” gift. Not many people take the time to think or realize that. Christmas is all about Jesus who left the splendor of Heaven & came down to broken Earth. I don’t over schedule myself during the holidays. I do those activities that I have time to enjoy & the others I skip. God understands. Our church used to go Christmas Caroling to nursing homes. That was fun & uplifting. Made the residents happy for a few minutes. I put up a small “Charlie Brown” tree complete with ornaments & lights. Dance & song along with all kinds of Christmas music. That really puts me in the mood. This year if I can find one I will do a “senior tree” gift. Similar to Angel tree only for senior citizens-an often forgotten group during the holidays. So easy to buy a few nice things to make their days a bit cheerier. This year is a bit tougher than others. FIL is getting out of hospital today (11/25) going home on hospice. Had bilateral ischemic attack about 4 weeks ago, has stage III bladder cancer, bladder infection & is weak. This year is more about family & just being with each other than anything else. I believe the holidays are primarily about being with friends & family. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to God for the bountiful harvest He provided. Christmas is about singing happy birthday Jesus & remembering the ultimate gift.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Beth – I am so very sorry to hear about your FIL. Those kinds of diagnosis puts everything into perspective this season, don’t they? Will be praying that your family has an extra sweet measure of savoring time together and celebrating and sharing special memories.

      Much love from all of us at incourage,
      Jen

  5. Yes Christmas can be nice. But we don’t want to forget the real meaning of Christmas. The real present given to us that baby born in a manger. Who was the best present given to all the world. That went on to die on Calvary’s Cross because he love us all so much. No better present could God have given us that was his one and only son Jesus. Born in on fancy place. Just a manger with animals. We as followers of Jesus can give that present back to all that are not saved. By showing Jesus love to people that are not saved by living our lives in front of them for Jesus. Then telling them the best story of all. About how Jesus came into the world and was born in a stable and went on Calvary’s cross for them because he loved them so much and Died for their Sins. Then you never know hopefully with them hearing that. They might give their lives to Jesus and get saved. As no better present could you give them. This is one you can’t buy them in the shops. This is best present you if saved can give that unsaved person you know this Christmas. You another thing that is so great about it. Not like the gifts in the shop. It will cost you no money to tell it too them. But before you tell it too them. Pray and as God through his Holy Spirit to helping you know when to share it with them. It is a simple story to share with them. Not like the businesses of this time of year Christmas time going shopping for presents. When shops can be so busy. Quing up for to pay for suff can seem like for ever. You say I not doing all this next year. Going round the shops shopping for this person and this person quing for ages and ages. The stress not worth it. Then your tired and you come home and take it out on your family. You don’t mean too. Christmas should at this time of year not be it like this. Especially getting parked to go shopping. No wonder you are stressed up. It should just be about the real present that was given to us. That was Jesus who was born in Manger. Who came to save the world. That went on to Clavary Cross. Let get back to that. Not the stress of the world way of Christmas and busy shops being busy and the car parks being busy. Them making you spend money. You might also not gave to make your family feel good. Then you spend such and such on a gift and you think it lovely. Then they say nice and not really want it. You say why did I bother. You feel your blood pressure go up yourself getting mad. Is Christmas worth the hassle. Let get back to the true meaning of it Jesus. He is the reason we have it in the first place. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxxx

    • Yes, Dawn, to so much of this. Remember who and why we celebrate…..it’s all about Jesus.

      Have a wonderful Week of gratitude. 🙂

      xox Jen

  6. Thanks for this good reminder. I have struggled with wanting to do ALL the Christmas things over the years, not because I have to, but because I want to. It would be easier to let things go if I didn’t love doing them so much. But I’m learning more and more as I get older to find balance and to realize what’s important. One of the best ideas that’s helped me is to realize that just because I don’t do a certain tradition one year doesn’t mean I can’t do it on another. It might just be a break.

    My favorite line you wrote today is this, “For peace to reign this month, we must have meaningful margin.” I think that’s a good summary of how I want to plan our holidays.

    May we continue to learn how best to celebrate the greatest gift. God bless us every one.

    • K Ann – I am with you. We want to do all the things because they’re special and let people know that we love them, but you’re right, the margin needs to be carved in for us to actually savor and enjoy those things, right?

      Here’s to learning together how to best celebrate our greatest gift. 🙂

      Jen

  7. “Be intentional today about carving margin into your calendar, mark in free days, and guard that down time like it’s your job.” Amen! This is so good, Jen!

  8. Just recently, a friend called to say he’d made a big pot of seafood chowder, would we be available to come for supper–in an hour and a half?! Thankfully, we were, because the chowder was fantastic, but best of all was joining them at their family table as if we were family too, and chatting the evening away. You are so right, Jennifer: “Simple gatherings make the season sweeter.” Less stress means more pleasure for everyone–hosts and guests alike, I think.

    • Oh Nancy –
      There’s nothing I love more than spontaneous hospitality like that. What a good friend and wonderful evening. 🙂

      xoxox
      Jen

  9. yes I like to think Christ came to us in the silence of a night that long ago evening..all these man made material expectations fade by the way side here.
    with our Christmas we pace ourselves , a little baking each weekend and invites for weekend visits are sent far in advance so I can enter my season of Christmas with peace and maintain it. enjoy a calm Christmas with God first invited into our homes and our family at ease and rest .