December 3, 2011

Not Enough Time? by PJ Johnston

Traffic choked highways and parking lots. 
Not enough time, not enough time.
Crowded stores, rude customers, 
Clueless sales staff, unhappy cashiers. 
Not enough time, not enough time.  
Mounting debt, unhung decorations, 
housework yet to be done. 
Not enough time, not enough time.
Cranky, seemingly thankless children, 
gifts for teachers and school grab bags. 
Not enough time, not enough time.
I forgot something for Aunt Martha, 
I still have the angel costume to make for the Christmas pageant, 
Oh no – the Christmas cards. 
Not enough time, not enough time. 
Baking cookies, holiday parties, cooking dinner.
Not enough time, not enough time.

You know the drill.  
It’s just you and me, so let’s not pretend otherwise.  
I promise I won’t tell.
Nothing says “Christmas” like…hmmm….the shepherds and magi shopping for gifts for Jesus at the mall?  Mary sending Christmas cards to the folks back home?  Stringing lights around the manger?

Decades ago, I had small children and a career in its early stages (translation: low on discretionary funds).  I knew I had to grow traditions that would allow me to keep Christ in Christmas.  After giving it some thought, I realized it only required leaving the same room in my life for Christ during the hustle bustle of the season that I did throughout the year.  I had to prevent other things from taking center stage.

The first thing I did was set a spending limit for the total holiday season: gifts, decorations, food, extras.  And I adhered to it.

The second thing I did was shop all year long for gifts, beginning with January sales.  When I saw the perfect gift for someone, I bought it and put it in a closet I called “The Mall”. I decided to finish my Christmas shopping by September of each year, finish signing and addressing my Christmas cards by mid-October each year, finish wrapping all my gifts and put up my holiday decorations by December 1st and leave the entire month of December open to do the real holiday stuff: baking cookies, caroling and helping others.

I vowed never to step foot in a store during December, never to feel hurried. I would try to act kinder and more patient with others who were feeling overwhelmed and, like I said, to help those folks out.

None of these things were difficult.  In fact, the holiday seasons became low stress and much more meaningful.

Christmas isn’t about how much, how many, how detailed or how pretty.  Christmas is about feeling God’s love for you in Christ Jesus.  It’s about kindness, patience, charity and generosity of time, spirit and, yes, money and goods for those less fortunate.

My way to keep Christ in Christmas is to sweep December clean of all the muck and mire so I can concentrate on the types of things the Lord intended.

Merry Christmas!  


Please Visit PJ where she blogs over at 


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I Love you guys.

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Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Yay! I am so glad I am not the only weirdo who has Christmas gifts and cards done before the holiday season. It really does make for a more simpler, laid back, stress free Christmas.

Joanna said...

Love this! And the new look of your blog, lady! If you send me a 200x150 button, I'll put it up on my page!!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Great post by pj! She hit the nail on the head and I'm going to try to be more in the moment this year.