Dashing Through the Holidays | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dashing Through the Holidays

Yesterday Joel and I gave a "Silent Christmas Lesson" to our Young Men and Young Women at church.  We handed each of them a packet with instructions.  No talking.  They read scriptures to themselves, we listened to hymns, they read some thought provoking quotes and ideas about Christ's birth and we finished up by watching The Nativity.

I had such a wonderful experience with that lesson.  The kids really were completely silent and the Spirit was so strong in that room that it was tangible.  Even after we said the closing prayer, everyone just kind of sat there, basking in the glow of the Holy Ghost, completely silent.  Which is totally abnormal for a group of rowdy teenagers who are usually up and chattering as soon as the final "amen" is pronounced.

And then some of the Primary kids ran in the room, breaking the spell as they laughed.  And that was that.

But it all made me think about my manic approach to the holidays this season.  I have never been less prepared for Christmas than I am this year.  I can blame my cross-country move, but that was 4 1/2 months ago and I really should have planned things a bit more.  I may not be the most organized of people, but I normally have stocking stuffers purchased a couple months before Thanksgiving.  I usually have an idea in place for my Christmas card in the summer, and make sure I get the right picture before Thanksgiving.  I have lists of ideas for gifts.  Sewing projects are begun months before Christmas, and the rest of my shopping, while still done in December is usually done by the first week.

I really hate feeling so rushed during the holidays.  I've completely missed the reason for it all this year.  The Christmas shopping wasn't even begun until Black Friday, and only finished a few days ago.  It took me 2 weeks to finish decorating the house, and I didn't derive much pleasure from it at all. The stocking stuffers were an afterthought.  The Christmas picture for my card was taken on December 12 and the card was made late that night.  They were finally mailed out this past Friday.  Gifts for extended family weren't even thought of until this past week, and naturally, I mailed them late.  It's a huge gamble as to whether they'll actually arrive in time for Christmas morning.

As I stood in a very long line at the post office on Saturday morning, balancing packages for my niece and nephews, my parents, my brother, my in-laws, I vowed to be better next year.  For my own sanity. But I wasn't even thinking that sitting back and remembering God's greatest gift to the world should be a reason for being more prepared.  I was thinking about the fact that we were going to be totally late to the Christmas party the kids were invited to because of the insane line of other procrastinators and freaking out about the cost of mailing the packages to (maybe) arrive by December 25.

I finally got it yesterday during our lesson at church.  After church,  the kids and I cuddled up together and listened to Christmas music together.  Not the Kristin Chenoweth or Harry Connick, Jr. albums I've been playing lately, but the Tabernacle Choir and Jenny Oaks Baker and Josh Groban.  The rushing around, the stress, the short fuse, the endless lists that must be done now, or else! were gone.

Our home was finally filled with the Christmas spirit.
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


~John 3:16

32 comments :

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Lara. I too have been feeling the rush!

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  2. I love this post! It is so rewarding to see your children express their thoughts on the things of the Spirit!

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  3. This is a very nice reminder. Tomorrow through Christmas my husband has off of work, and I am really looking forward to spending quality family time together and remembering the importance of this season.

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  4. Thank you for that I think we all need that.

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  5. Our extended family on both sides has seriously cut down on gift giving. Our kids exchange gifts, but we mainly send pics of our kids. At first, I thought "oh, no, can I really show them how much I love them w/out a gift for every person?" but it has actually been a great blessing.
    I'm also the YW's president at church and I have been grateful for those simple moments you find with the spirit. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  6. What a beautiful idea--wish I'd been there.

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  7. Our Sunday yesterday was like that, too where we just got to enjoy being together and listening to Sunday/Christmas music. It was lovely.

    That being said, I didn't know Kristin Chenowith had a Christmas album and I wanna go find it now:)

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  8. Just reading that gave me some much needed peace. Thank you! I am so unprepared for Christmas this year, and have been trying to balance the spiritual with the traditions and the "have to-s" Thank you for just a little added peace.

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  9. That's an incredible lesson. I wish I'd been there.

    I've been busy this season too and I've almost been angry that I couldn't find some Christmas cheer. Finally, last night, I wrote a letter to my missionary brother and for Christmas, I bore him my testimony. I was filled with a rush of the spirit and it's so close today that I keep bursting into tears.

    Merry Christmas, Lara.

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  10. I too really loved this post and the reminder. We all need to stop and realize what this season is about. It's not the hustle and bustle of making sure decorations are up, baking is done, christmas cards and gifts are sent out... even though those things are nice... It's about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and nothing else we do matters as much as that.

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  11. What a great idea for a lesson. Wish I could have been there, but my little boy woul dhave made it anything but silent!

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  12. What a great idea for a lesson. Wish I could have been there, but my little boy woul dhave made it anything but silent!

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  13. Your lesson sounded really cool! And I know what you mean about the struggle. I've been fasting and praying all month to be able to keep the Christmas spirit. I keep reminding myself to clean up less and spend more time with the kids. Bake more and worry about the calories later. Yell less and forgive quicker. It's about memories and time together -- not money!

    And yes, this is why I get everything I can done early so I can remind myself to RELAX. Sorry the moving really hampered that.

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  14. I read about your lesson and thought, "Silence is such a powerful teacher."

    I want to make more room for stillness in my corner of the world.

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  15. This was our first Christmas home and we were pretty excited to start our own traditions. But we haven't done any of them. I have been feeling the rush too, but will be glad to have our own little Nativity to remember the reason for the seasonon Christmas Eve.

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  16. My sister and her husband teach the 15 year olds. I can't wait to tell her about this idea!

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  17. We've had a few quiet, cuddly, warm, Christmasy moments, too, and I'm trying to relish them.

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  18. Very sweet, Lara. It's so easy to get caught up in the nuttiness and so hard to feel the real spirit of the holiday.

    I'm not even half done with the shopping, and am not even doing a Christmas card, so you should feel great about your efforts!

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  19. Very well put ... I think that can be said for all of us. I really love the lesson, what a great idea. Merry Christmas to you!

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  20. That sounds like a wonderful lesson.

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  21. I love your lesson idea. How cool is that?

    I have done zero Christmas shopping until today, and you know what? It will get done and I only will have spent 2-3 days doing it. It is almost like I planned it this way, but no.

    Thanks for your great thoughts.

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  22. Prepared or not, it sounds like you're having a really nice Christmas!

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  23. This was my least prepared year yet. But, somehow, I'm enjoying it the most. Even though I'm still on the mad dash to get everything on the list done.

    Missing you guys terribly this Christmas.

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  24. Wonderful post, Lara. Your lesson idea was genius. That will be something those kids will always remember. I needed to hear this over the guilt of not having cards on time and worrying I forgot to make someone a plate of goodies.

    None of that really matters.

    Thank you. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family.

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  25. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Agree!

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  26. I am SO thankful for the greatest gift. I too am trying to enjoy the spirit of the season.

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  27. Hope you have a blessed and very Merry Christmas! ♥ HUGS ♥

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  28. Yes, I've felt completely snowed in this Christmas with "to do's" that keep on growing exponentially. It really sucks.

    Only yesterday did things slow down and I was able to truly start enjoying the holiday...with a few days left until Christmas. It just doesn't seem fair. Boo.

    Next year I'm making a vow to be better prepared, not running crazy nuts all over the place. If I can only remember this next year.

    Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

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  29. You know, I think everyone needs a Christmas like that every once in a while, just simply to realize what they are missing when it happens. I had that Christmas last year and vowed never to do it again. And this year has been SOOO much better.

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  30. I think, for once I am the opposite. since we were doing just the wii, I haven't really looked for much more. it's all quite simple this year. I think it will start a new theme for us....
    of course, I am guessing reading Jesus the Christ might have helped too. :)

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  31. I wish I had been there for that lesson! (BTW, it can take a long time to totally get over a big move like that . . . I've done it enough to know what a huge difference it can make. Hugs!)

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