Christmas Countdown Challenge, Week 1-worry

Christmas tree hunt 2008

So, it’s coming! Less than four weeks and it will be upon us! Have you flung yourself headlong into the inevitable frenzy of Christmas yet? It is one of the most difficult times of the year for me to maintain a healthy perspective on my to-do list. As soon as Thanksgiving ends, the pressure descends to get the best deal, bake the tastiest treats, wrap notable gifts, and decorate beautifully. I get swept away by a current of tasks that equate to the “perfect Christmas”, then fail to measure up to my own expectations.

So, I’ve made a decision. This year calls for a new approach. These next four weeks, I am committed to making sense of the “Christmas crazy” through Scripture. Each of the next four weeks, I will write a meaningful Scripture on the heading of my to-do list. Before I assign priority to any task, I will read and contemplate this Scripture. Before I hit the mall, measure a cup of flour, unroll wrapping paper, or hang a stocking – I will replay this Bible verse in my mind. My goal – to feel less overwhelmed and more fulfilled, as I cross each item off the list.

Want to join me? Let’s get going. The Scripture focus this week:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything? Wait, really? But, there is so much to do and so much to fret about. How do we put the brakes on worry?

The Scripture above offers us a few strategies to try:

  • In the midst of making decisions, prayerfully ask God for help. While making to-do lists, intentionally prioritize, cut back, and perhaps, even eliminate some tasks. Does your heart feel heavy or light when you review your list? Do you sense that you would be happier if something on the list changed? How can you make that happen?
  • Remember this season comes one day at a time. Don’t worry about the winter road conditions for your celebrations right now. When that day comes, so will the cautious decisions you need to make. Focus on the tasks at hand for today, arming yourself with confidence and humor as you work to accomplish them.
  • Turn complaints upside down and shake them all around. Instead of grumbling about tasks, decide to speak thankfully about them. A lot of people to cook for? Remember how blessed you are to have a family to celebrate with. Shopping requires too much time and money? Remember what a gift it is to have talents and resources you can share with others. Outdoor decorating is a cold, tedious job? Remember having a place to call home for Christmas keeps us humble and grateful. How can you turn your complaints upside down?
  • Take time to be still and quiet. Carve out some time each day for yourself to revel in a little peace. Do something that you would not normally have time to enjoy this holiday season. Read a Christmas novel, take a walk in the woods, try out one of those new coloring books for grown-ups, or drink hot chocolate in front of your Christmas tree every night before bed…whatever works for you.

Prayer for the Week:

Heavenly Father, Blessed be your name above all earthly things. As another Christmas season begins, help me keep my worries in perspective. Teach me to listen for your quiet nudges on my heart regarding holiday busyness. Walk boldly beside me one day at a time, and remind me to laugh more often than not. Display my blessings prominently before me, so that I am not tempted to forget and complain about them. Lead me into quiet spaces filled with your peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Resources:

Click on the following PDF link for a To-Do list form displaying this week’s Scripture. Print it, if you would like, and refer to the Scripture throughout your week. Know someone else who would like this blog? Please pass it along!

To-Do List with Scripture