So does it irk you that I'm posting Christmas stuff already? Or does it get you excited? I hope it makes you feel all giddy inside, but I'm very well aware of the fact that it might make you feel overwhelmed and behind before you've even begun.
Here's how I know: 5 years ago, I felt nothing but disdain for the Christmas season. That sounds horrible, I know, but it's true. In fact, the awareness that I was supposed to love Christmas, especially as a follower of Christ, only served as added fuel to the emotional disaster that the season was for me.
At that point in my life, I had a grumpy 9 month old and 3 young girls. I was chin deep in toys, laundry, stress, sleeplessness, freelance design work, and homeschooling. I routinely went through cycles of moderate depression and intense physical fatigue. So from this place, all I could see were the added responsibilities and expectations of the Christmas season. I remember talking with a mentor of mine and guiltily admitting that I dreaded this time of year. She asked how she could help and I found myself gushing a desperate plea to be relieved of having to make Christmas cut-out cookies with my girls. This was one of the things they were looking forward to the most and the very thought of the mess and chaos it would bring nearly triggered a panic attack in me. She just smiled and said why don't you let the girls come over here and make cookies this year.
It seems funny now :) But that's just where I was at... everything overwhelmed me.
That stage lasted for a few years. Then last year as the end of October rolled around I realized that I was actually looking forward to the upcoming holiday season! As if I was suddenly freed from a dreadful curse, I felt light and happy anticipating all that Christmas would bring. My stage of life had shifted and the heaviness of that season was no longer so oppressive.
So if any piece of that resembles how you feel going into this Christmas season, I'm sorry...I remember the feeling so well and hurt with you. Or maybe it runs even deeper for you. Maybe you're experiencing loss or deep pain and Christmas is only going to intensify the reality of this. Whether your situation is quite mild or all consuming, the answers are still the same.
Find someone to confide in and to help bear the weight of where you're at. And if you don't have anyone, email me! We were never meant to do this life alone. The enemy of our souls wants to isolate us. He wants to mess with your mind and make your think things are hopeless. But in Christ, and in the fellowship of believers we are never alone and we always have hope.
And most importantly, if you have to let everything else go... cling tightly to one thing. Spend time each day in God's word and in prayer. It doesn't have to be a lot, but pursue the only thing that has power to bring you out of darkness and into light and freedom. It doesn't mean that as soon as you open up your Bible, everything will change. But as you seek to know Christ more in this way, it will give you strength to endure and you'll find comfort from his presence. After all, that's what Christmas is celebrating... Jesus coming near... so we could know Him and find life in Him. Nothing else really matters. Not even Christmas cut-out cookies :)
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
"Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land." Hosea 6:3
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
So if it doesn't overwhelm you, :) .....and if it helps you get excited for this season of our Savior coming near... I have these printable Merry Mail sticker for you!
You can download a PDF of the stickers through Google Drive HERE
Or you can save the high resolution Jpeg file below...
Just print on sticker paper (I like Avery full sheet labels) and cut with a scissor... or if you have a Silhouette or other cutting device, just pop the jpeg into the design program to make your own kiss-cut stickers! fun. fun. :)
Blessing to you!