Our ‘Celebrating Love’ series is off to a great start! Today, Amanda from AmandaBixler.com is here to share about how she and her husband and saying ‘yes’ to what really matters this holiday season. -Brittany
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. “Let’s go over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed. Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself.
-Luke 2:8 – 19, The Message translation
For the first four years of our marriage, my husband and I were both on staff at our church. And as wonderful and exciting as church may be during the Christmas season, it’s also a really tough time to be employed – can I get an amen from anyone else? It usually involves extra set up, rehearsals, productions, rehearsals, planning meetings, more rehearsals, meetings, and oh one more rehearsal. And then there was everything else we said yes to – yes to the parties, yes to the Christmas lights, yes to the decorating, yes to baking for the entire office, yes to another dinner party, yes to buying gifts for everyone, yes to more, bigger, louder.
It. Was. Nuts.
Inevitably, we would get to December 26th exhausted, probably sick, and pretty much having missed the season. Sure, we knew all of the words to the third verse of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and we knew when all of the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes needed to be submitted by, but peace and joy were far from our hearts and homes. And our marriage suffered. We’d go days without really seeing each other, weeks without a date night or intentional conversation. We were tired, stretched too thin, saying yes to all the wrong things forcing us to say no to one another and to our relationship.
And then I stumbled across this verse in Luke chapter two: Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself.
And I took a deep breath. And I paused. And I wondered – just maybe has my loud schedule caused me to miss the quiet evening that our Savior came as a meek little baby?
Now, please hear me, I am not arguing for a quiet faith, a silent following of God. All throughout the gospels we see people encountering Jesus, being healed and transformed, and running away shouting the good news and praising God. We are called to share Jesus’ coming with the world, we are instructed to live out our faith and love in actions, we are encouraged to go into the world and make disciples. Yet, I also wonder if sometimes we’re simply supposed to sit at the feet of Jesus and, in the spirit of Mary, hold these truths dear, deep within ourselves.
So this year, we are saying no. No to busy, no to stress, no to one more thing on our calendar. No to late nights and early mornings, no to over-commitment, no to stretching ourselves too thin. And, in doing so, we are say yes to fun and exciting experiences, yes to sitting at the feet of God and soaking in the truth of this season, yes to date nights and adventures and cozy evenings in front of the fire. We are saying yes to intentional family time, to quiet mornings and long cups of coffee, and soaking in the smell of our freshly cut Christmas tree.
We are choosing to celebrate love these next couple of months by holding the blessings of this season dear and close to our hearts. We are simplifying our schedule, looking one another in the eyes, and celebrating fall, Thanksgiving, Jesus’ birth, and the New Year together, side by side, content and peaceful, holding these truths dear, deep within ourselves.
Amanda is a blogger, student, and amateur chef based out of Colorado Springs. She writes honest encouragement to others to live a more grace-filled and slower life, a life full of rest, intentional productivity, and delicious food. She’s a fan of all things chocolate, coffee, and Jesus and, given the option, she’d chose mountains over the beach any day.
I am so happy to be able to share Amanda’s story with you today! As the holiday season approaches, what plans have you made? Have you given yourself time to sit back and relax with your family? What are you saying ‘Yes’ to during the holidays? What are you saying, ‘No, to? Let us know in the comments below!