A simple Christmas — don’t we all, to some degree, hope for just this? For an opportunity to opt out of the hustle and bustle this season generally brings?
There always seems to be just so much to do. So many places to be. So much to accomplish. Gifts to purchase and then wrap and then deliver. Cards to order, sign, and send. Cookies to bake, gatherings to host, friends to see. Traditions to uphold, family to visit, floors to scrub.
But this year, many things are different, yet a few big things remain.
It reminds me of the analogy of “big rocks vs. little rocks.” The big rocks of our lives are to be placed into the bucket first. These are our foundations, our top priorities, and values: family, faith, treasured rituals and traditions. Basically, the big rocks are that which we hold most dear. Then the little rocks are placed into the bucket. These are the things that fill the rest of our lives: work, hobbies, activities, family management, and the like. Smaller than big rock items but still meaningful and important.
This Christmas, it feels like most of my little rocks are gone and all that remains in my bucket are the big rocks. And you know, it’s not all bad.
Often we look to Christmas as a kind of anchor for our traditions and celebrations, and this year many of those will not be able to happen or will need to be so modified that they will feel entirely different. But instead of throwing me off, I’m welcoming this rare chance for a simpler Christmas.
A cleared-off calendar, free of concerts, programs, and the need for coordinated outfits. No parties to host, clean, and cook for, purchase and wrap gifts for, or muster up the energy to attend. Fewer people to shop for and more people to pray for.
It’s as though all the extras, the small rocks, for better or not, have been removed, and what’s left are simply the biggest rocks — Christ born, family near, and love all around.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
Even in these ever-changing times, God is good, and Christmas will come. Will it look different? Likely. Will we grieve parts of our celebrations that are missing? Yes and that’s okay. Will we ever again have the chance to focus so clearly on the biggest rock of all – preparing for and celebrating the birth of Jesus? Maybe not.
So let’s take it. Let’s shift our focus, difficult as it may be, to entering this holiday season with courageous simplicity rather than grieving our no longer full schedules.
The simple truth is that Christmas faithfully comes to us no matter what.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
John 1:14 (NIV)
Post by Anna E. Rendell
We want you to enjoy a heartfelt, simplified Christmas this year. So we’ve gathered a few of our favorite (in)courage words on this very subject, and we want to share them with you!
Sign up for this FREE Simple Christmas 5-day email series, and we will send you five daily emails with encouragement to be present and celebrate this special season with courageous simplicity. Join us and get your holidays off to a simply great start.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I’m with you. My heart always craves a simple Christmas but it’s always doing battle with the trappings and tinsel that vie for my attention. My heart does go out, however, to all those who don’t have family or a loved one with whom they can have a simple Christmas. God is tugging at my heart as to how I can tangibly make Christmas less lonely for single individuals who’ve already endured months of isolation and loneliness.
Yes! Many families complain of missed activities and being home, but at least they have company.
Linda Sprunt says
Thank you, Anna. Beautiful encouragement that Christmas faithfully comes each year without fail. I’ve been saying, “No, COVID! You can’t steal Christmas!” It might look different on the outside, but the Truth of the season remains the same. Jesus Christ ~ the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Thank you. This just wrapped me in a blanket of ‘ahhhhh’.
Melody G says
Let’s celebrate this year with EXPECTANCY and EXCITEMENT for the chance to focus on what is truly important. God sent His son for you and for me. Soak that wonder in for a moment or two. Use this year to treasure that amazing truth. Then use what you would have spent on clothes, food, extra gifts, travel, to lift someone else up this season.
Carol Fostey says
This will be nice thank u
Carole Manzie-Burt says
thank you so much for helping us all in these tiem that it isnt all about the so called traditions but the birth of our Savior!! god bless you all at this Special time of the year!!
Thank you, Anna! You always help us to”look at the bright side” of life. There always is one. Thanks so much for showing it to us!
Elizabeth A Townsend says
This came just when I needed to hear that the Joys and Peace of Christmas is the birth of my Savior Jesus.
I just mailed out letters this morning to our family letting them know I would not be hosting our traditional Christmas gathering with food, sharing The Twelve Days of Christmas. One of our granddaughters colored the twelve days of Christmas, I took them and had the them laminated. One card it handed out to a family member to say or sing what is on their card. What fun it has been. Live Laugh Love…
Victoria Bowling says
Thank you for saying what we have all been thinking.
Mary Ellen Shedron says
The thought of a simple Christmas fulfills my yearning for SOMETHING to occupy my focus that does not drain me physically nor emotionally. Months of upheaval in nearly every aspect of life have left me “pandemic weary.”
I just want to celebrate Jesus with a simple Christmas. Thank you for leading the way.
Beth Williams says
Over the past few years I have come to dislike the holidays. I believe it’s because of the “worldliness” of it all. Going from Halloween right to Christmas gift buying/black Friday without even a mention of Thanksgiving. Call me “Charlie Brown” if you will. I don’t get the need to want everything big & flashy. I just want to know in my heart & head the true meaning of Christmas. Why celebrate at all. I love the part where Linus drops his blanket & simply tell the story. Hubby & I have a small decorated tree that I lovingly call my Charlie Brown. Most like me will miss some traditions like caroling at nursing homes, church candlelight service. The point of Christmas is that Christ left the splendor of Heaven to come down to broken Earth. Listen to the song “Leaven Heaven” by Matthew West. I’m all for new traditions of keeping Christmas simple. No big fanfare. Just some Christmas music & good meal with family & a few gifts.
Annie Thompson says
Thank you for offering a “Simple Christmas”..
It’s not what’s under the tree, but Christmas lays in our ♥️ Hearts.
Let’s be grateful this year, for our family’s well being, health.
In such a horrific time, when we should all be together, let’s just pray for friends, families, homeless, people going hungry.
I have tried to understand, in our USA, how are people going without, food, clothing, shelter, I just have NO WORDS, let’s all try to give one simple bit of pleasure to someone who has nothing. Just think, if everyone in our country stood together, gave 1 item, there would no longer be a shortage of food for our homeless, or just families who are struggling through this pandemic.
Tha Tin Kulh says
It is an encouraging mesaage. I love it. I want more christmas messages to read, do sent me again
Camilla Hubbard says
The last few weeks I have missed receiving your daily in-courage emails, and wondered if my email address had dropped off your list? Today’s post reminds me of a poem I wrote many years ago, and is a favourite of most (from my book Living & Learning).
‘Tis the season to be jolly,
Decorate our homes with holly,
Subsidise Australia Post
Sending greetings to a host
Of relatives and friends-
It’s a list that never ends.
There’s the pudding and the cake-
One to boil and one to bake-
And the presents-big decisions
With additions and revisions.
Putting up the tree-and lights,
Checking bulbs, (and stopping fights?)
It can seem an endless round
Of laughter, stress and sound!
Yet the reason for this season
Of frivolity and mirth
Is to celebrate the birth
Of a Saviour come to earth.
God our Father sent His Son
To be the One and Only One –
Lest in darkness we would grope
By His birth He gives us hope.
May our hearts be filled with joy,
Welcome in this baby boy
May His birthday then inspire
A New Year filled with desire
To be like a heavenly choir
Chorusing His Name.
Camilla Diann 1993
NB: Although the usual copyright sign is printed in my books, I have mentioned that I waive copyright for anyone who wishes to share my poems for God’s purpose. (although it is polite to name the author.) So please feel free to share if you wish.
And one of my poems inspired a friend to ask her family’s agreement for a new tradition – to set an extra (empty) chair at their family Christmas table – for Jesus.
Coral Bryan says
Thanking you all for your thoughtfulness & wishing you all a very Blessed time celebrating our Lord’s Birth simply together with Love!
Wanda Leffel says
Thank you for your ministry to all of us during this time…helping us to focus on the truth of God’s everlasting love for us! We appreciate all of you!
Laura Whitson says
I am thankful for this series. Christmas blessings to you.
VICKIE Morris says
Thank you all for this wonderful opportunity to join you all in this series. I am so excited to see what God has in store for me in 2021 by doing this study.