I returned to my cozy hobbit-like studio Tuesday night, around 2am. I guess that was Wednesday morning, wasn't it? I dropped my luggage by the front door and headed straight to the Christmas trees. They sparkled at me with quiet contentment as I turned them on.
Next, I boiled water for peppermint tea and poured it into my favorite Christmas mug. I was tired, oddly alert, and not ready to fall into bed. Mostly, I was thankful for the season, returning home with a heartful of a lot of things that needed to be processed and prayed over. Glimpses of the past days leapt to mind.
Don't rush into the next thing after Christmas Day is officially over
, John and Staci Eldredge advised on this week's podcast. Let yourself rest in Christmastide. The season isn't officially over until January 6, the day of Epiphany. (I love their podcast. You can find it on your podcast player or watch it on YouTube here
Welcome Advice for Post-Christmas Relief
This advice is a rescue for so many of us. There is grace in the invitation to rest and sink into Christmas for a little bit longer.
And during this in-between week, we don't have to make a big dinner or do lots of dishes or dress up or even clean the kitchen! There are few major activities and that is a grace!
It's a chance to process what happened and what didn't, what went well and what we wish would've gone differently. There's always a twinge of regret each holiday season isn't there?
And I think there is time for us to celebrate.
Because I'm in other people's homes, I defer to their traditions and practices. Yet there are traditions and practices around Christmas I've always wanted to implement. I'd hoped I'd be married and have children and start my own traditions of celebrating Jesus and Christmas, but that has not happened.
But, I realized I can still celebrate Christmas with the traditions near and dear to my heart, with Jesus. It's a bit different than what I'd hoped for, but sweet all the same.
And you can too.
This might be the week, dear heart, where you have the quiet celebration your heart longed for.
What I do this week will probably influence much of what happens next Christmas season. Those magazines I wanted to go over, the paper craft I meant to do for a friend, the paintings I wanted to give – this week in quieter moments after work, while the rain gently falls and the temperature drops, these things will get done and then quietly packed away with notes for next year. (Or maybe sent off to my friend, anyways!).
Rest, Renewal and a Little Christmastide Party
For those who are the keepers of Christmas, use this week to rest and recover, celebrate and maybe even consider the hope of what is next, including a few dreams you'd like to tuck away for Christmas 2024. Why not have a restful Christmas party? It might be a party of one (it will be for me), but that's kind of fun and sweet. A long walk, books, crafts, popcorn, and tea – sounds good to me.
Christmas always brings grace and hope, not for the month of December but to propel us through the year. It is a wonderful time to lift up prayers of gratitude for the people, the moments, the meals, and the warmth of the season, to sit with Jesus in the quiet and rest.
I mentioned in the previous article that I'm not intimidated or worn out by the inevitable fatigue Christmas brings. I'm not bothered by it because I know this week is the week of rest and renewal. Fatigue is expected, especially with travel and work and expectations. But this week, Christmastide, is here, waiting for me. It's an invitation to rest, sleep a bit more (or try to!), replenish hearts and minds and bodies and souls.
I'm not quite ready for the new year and so I'm soaking up all the gifts this week offers, especially the gift of time and quiet rest and creativity.
May this last week of December be a rest and gift for you too!