BEAUTY TIP #30 – “Tension into Tenderness”

The Christmas Season has many women struggling with a love/hate relationship. The first Christmas carols playing in the shopping mall get their hearts pounding, they break out in a sweat and their minds unravel like an out of control scotch-tape dispenser. The next minute they see a new purse or pair of earrings and they find themselves humming to “Deck the halls…” It’s strange and yet I know.

Christmas is filled with tension.

  • Will we have enough money to make it through the season?
  • How will our marriage survive the holidays?
  • There is no way we can fit all these activities into 23 days-absolutely not.
  • I hate wrapping.
  • All these expectations are killing me.
  • I have nothing new to wear.
  • Do we have the family gift exchange-give individual presents and to whom?
  • It’s all too much I can’t handle it.

 

I know that you and I do not want to feel tense. This is the most gorgeous, fun filled, gracious and ambiance filled time of the year. We want to feel the love, to be generous and extend good cheer wherever we go. How do we change tension into tenderness?

 

Get rid of the tension. Period. Easy to say but how do we do it?  Here are a few things I and my family have managed to achieve the last few years:

  1. We stopped the big, lavish entertaining during the month of December. Why do we feel we need to have all our family and friends into our home in about 23 days? We have 365 days to pull this off. Give yourself a break.
  2. No more Christmas letters. I do a Valentine’s love letter at a time of the year when it is relaxing and I can be funny and creative.
  3. Cut down on the cost and amount of gifts.
  4. We are making more and more donations to bring relief to poor countries.
  5. I do more on-line shopping each year. Find business that will actually gift wrap and deliver the presents to the door.  This takes hours and years off your life by not having to stand in line at the UPS office for one hour and then mortgage your home to pay for the shipping.
  6. Stop the excessive baking. Who needs all those calories and unsaturated fat?
  7. If you must shop in the mall, go during the supper hour or late at night when the mall is quite empty and you have time to ponder and be creative.
  8. I know we want everything to be wonderful and perfect, but it won’t be. The most important thing to remember for YOU is to guard your heart against the invading tension every day. “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). No one else can do this for you; every choice you make is in your power.
  9. Leave some margin in your days so that line-ups don’t make you into a crazy woman.

10.  Be prepared to be disappointed about something. Leave your expectations for a tension-free Christmas dinner inside your storage closet. Instead be intentionally prepared to embrace everyone with grace and love, including all their quirks and strange gifts.

11.  Package the Christmas decorations away in Tupperware tubs according to rooms and areas of decorating. Label the tubs so that the next year all you do is take out the tubs, unpack and voila.

Remember, it’s all about LOVE and RELATIONSHIPS.  None of the external things we do to make it a magnificent Christmas will give us the love and hope that we are looking for. Jesus Christ was born in a manger, a dirty, smelly, messy place. He came through this mess to show us how to love. He is still trying to do this today. He still wants to meet us in our muddles, our inadequacies, imperfections and tensions. The question is: “Will we let him into our tension filled Christmas days so that we give Him room to change it into tenderness?”

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

It’s all about the Hope we have for this Christmas season. What is your hope?

 

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