We want to eat all of the Christmas cookies, but we also don't want to gain fifty pounds. We want to go to all of the parties, but we also need time to ourselves. We want to sing songs about Santa and snow, but we don't want them to dilute the message of the gospel. I feel this struggle, the fight for balance during the holidays. And so I present three ways to find balance and peace during Christmas. After all, we are celebrating the Prince of Peace!
1. Find Balance in Body
Christmas is the season for indulgences, especially when it comes to food. Christmas cookies. Christmas dressing. Christmas candy. Christmas coffee. Christmas everything. Christmas is also a weird time of year where our regular habits of exercise and taking care of our bodies can be abandoned. How can we find balance during this season of excess?
Here's my strategy: eat the Christmas cookies.
Yes, eat the cookies. But only when it is special. When you're at Grandma's house and she baked you cookies, don't feel bad eating them. Give yourself permission to celebrate Christmas cookies at these special times. Buuut, don’t live off of Christmas cookies and such just because it's December and they're Christmas cookies. In your normal meals, try to make an extra effort to eat something that's good for your body because then you can enjoy those special meals and snacks even more.
Also, be proactive in making time to be active. Maybe instead of watching two Christmas movies with your friend, go take a walk and then watch one. Exercise how you like to exercise, and have fun. Play Christmas music as you run, do yoga, or whatever you do. Every time the characters in a Hallmark movie stare dramatically at each other, do twenty squats. Be festive in your exercise!
2. Find Balance in Mind
Christmas is a very social holiday, filled with family, friends, and random other people who all of a sudden feel connected to you. There are countless opportunities to celebrate with those around you, from Christmas parties to family reunions to Church festivities. On top of that, there are so many things to do in preparation for these gatherings. You must buy presents, bake a cake, find a white elephant gift, clean the house, and more. This can all get a little much, and some may desire a day of rest and alone time.
That is okay. It is okay not to go to every party and see every friend in town. If you stretch yourself too thin, you won’t enjoy any of it. That said, with a little foresight, you can prepare for the avalanche of things to do and places to go by making sure that you spend quality alone time. Do something every day that rejuvenates you and gives you comfort. For me, I like to watch movies and read blogs. For you it might be reading, going outside, playing with your pet, or making something. Balance out the crazy schedule of Christmas with a relaxing time of peace and rest. (For more about how to meaningfully spend time alone, check out my article The Art of Being Alone.)
3. Find Balance in Spirit
Sometimes the spirit of Christmas isn’t too easy on your spirit. The fluff and stuff of Christmas can distract our spirits from the Spirit of Christ. Now, I’m not about to go and say “Jesus is the reason for the season,” because saying that doesn’t really help much. No, we have to live in Jesus’ spirit of grace lavished upon us. We have to receive the gift of salvation from the hands of God, but we can’t receive this gift if we are busy holding onto everything else. We have to let go of trying to force the Christmas spirit into our lives, seeking that feeling that we cherished as kids. When we let go of our own efforts and simply receive the gift of Christ, we will find a joy in our spirits much like that we felt as children. Maybe that’s because as children we didn’t try to create, buy, and decorate Christmas. We simply received Christmas. Maybe it’s time for us to receive the spirit of Christ like little children.
One way that I loved receiving the gift of grace from God during the holidays is through Advent. To learn more about Advent, check out my 2016 Advent Guide. Saturating yourself with the Word of God, prayer, and wisdom from other Christians continually points our souls to Jesus, the source of all joy and peace. If you do nothing else this Christmas, receive the gift of Jesus with a humble and joyful heart.
As it turns out, balance isn’t a foreign concept during the holidays. Finding health in your body, peace in your mind, and joy in your spirit make the holidays a season that you will look forward to in every aspect. So embrace Christmas cookies while you also take care of your body. Celebrate with friends and family while you also take time to rest. Enjoy the dazzle of Christmas while humbling yourself to God as He gives us all something that we can never earn, deserve, or even understand: Immanuel. May God be with you this Christmas like never before.
Comment below how you find balance during the holidays. Also, WHO' FREAKING OUT THAT CHRISTMAS IS NINE DAYS AWAY????? Do you have big plans?