27:17 Christmas Series Guest Blogger: Amy Hickman
By nature I’m a person who prefers to write their feelings down, rather than speaking because, well, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to pry my foot out of my mouth. Pulling a size 10 out of your mouth is no easy “feet” (yes, I know it’s spelled feat, but I never miss an opportunity for a good play on words), so I write stuff down, proofread it and make a lot less people mad at me when I do. So, when Vanessa asked me to contribute a post to her blog, I was eager. I couldn’t possibly screw this up, since, after all, I am given the chance to correct anything stupid I might say…right? Let’s just say that the way things are going for me lately, I could be the first to illustrate a foot in mouth while guest blogging, so I’m doing my best to avoid that while being completely transparent with you…you readers who don’t know me at all, but I hope will not hold it against me! Here goes….
I’m a little Scrooge-y!
If you know me in real life, feel free to comment, “That’s not Amy at all!” If you don’t know me, let me defend myself a little and testify to those imaginary comments below that no, I’m not the “Scrooge-y” type during the holidays. One of my spiritual gifts is hospitality, so my giftedness just about busts out of my head and heart this time of year. I LOVE it! I love the hub-bub, the “let’s play Christmas music before Thanksgiving” part, the white twinkling lights, the obligatory family Christmas picture card…even the getting together with family that sometimes (let’s admit it) gets on our last nerve. As a matter of fact, the Scrooges are NOT allowed in my space! You know what they say…“never say never”. And I bet you were thinking just Justin Bieber said that! Well, I’m guessing we’ve all said it at some point, thinking we would never do, nor say, certain things, but we find ourselves right there, a little ho-hum and a whole lot apathetic, just not wanting to open our eyes to our reality. The holidays can be just that, and I believe that for women, they can be a whole lot of that because we’re kind of known for putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform. We have to have the best Christmas decorations because we’re GONNA post a picture on Facebook and ours HAS to be the very best so we get the most likes, right? We have to keep it all together during the holidays. The shopping, carting the kids to their Christmas parties and programs, and hosting family just won’t do itself now, will it? After a while, trying to have the perfect Christmas overwhelms us and we throw our hands up in the air and give up. Not you? Well, maybe this post is just a little therapy for me. Even this “I thrive on the details of it all” party planner crashes and burns from time to time. At that moment, it’s a great time for me to step back and evaluate what I’m doing that I love and just simply do that very well! Over time, I’ve had to let a lot of things go. My annual staff Christmas party I host every year has gone from every detail in place to no longer having matching place card holders, or those cute, little salt & pepper shakers that I thought just made the party. I’ve had years where no Christmas card was sent, or not one family came over for dinner, or when garland wasn’t hung, and we missed our traditional trip to look at Christmas lights. I still had some angst over it, but the times those things were missing were also the times when I can look back and see special memories were still made and lives were still touched just because we loved well. Over time, I began looking for things that our family could flesh out, while loving others well all year long, by focusing on living Christmas out every. single. day of our lives. For our family, the previously mentioned obligatory Christmas card is something that we get over the top excited about, so I took what is usually a briefly enjoyed part of our holidays and made it last all year long. We wondered what we could do with all of those cards, which mostly consist of picture cards nowadays, so we decided to collect them all in a special basket, even a drawer, and on the nights we are all together for dinner we pull a card out and simply pray for that family that took time to send us a card. The family doesn’t ever know that we kept their card, but our family knows and we know that we get a big kick out of praying for them. It’s do-able for us. We keep up with it and we all love it. It keeps our focus on what God has personally called our family to do, and that is to be “missionaries where we live, work and play”. That is not always seen by others, but sometimes it simply consists of the prayers we pray for people.
This Christmas, my encouragement to you would be to slow down and find out what it is that energizes you and where you find your passion lies. Is it baking Christmas cookies for your neighbors? Is it serving in a soup kitchen? Is it simply reading Christmas stories to your kids before bed? When you know what that is, then my advice to you is do it well, and in doing that well, you will find the sweetest Christmas memories you will ever make. Scrooges unite! Make this a Christmas that counts!