“Some years Christmas arrives in the middle of our mess. And the thought of thoroughly decking the halls feels like more of a burden than a blessing.”

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Believe it or not, those were words I read last week on a decorating blog called The Nester.

Aren’t decorating blogs supposed to make us want to decorate more?

Not that decorating blog!

Because it snowed & I was feeling festive, I bought our Christmas tree before Thanksgiving.

We didn’t get the lights and ornaments on until Tuesday night.

Do you know how depressing it is to look at a bare tree for a couple weeks in your living room?

Even though it smelled good, it became a constant reminder of the things that were getting left undone in our home.

She writes in her post, “If decorating my house for Christmas is a burden, then I stop. I must stop.” 

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So I did. When the tree was done, I quit.

I didn’t find my two wreaths for outside.

The flag pole holder outside is wiggly, so my Christmas flag isn’t going up.

I also misplaced the little ribbons I used to display our Christmas cards last year.

I still haven’t gotten the tree quilt I made last year up on the wall, because I can’t find the thumbtacks. IMG_1680

Oh, and I’m not sure about hauling the pretty Christmas dishes down out of the attic and packing up the others.

I might just grab one coffee cup & small plate for my hot tea and bagel in the mornings. Or, maybe two sets so John and I can have supper together.

This year, the tree is enough. Two poinsettia-covered cups and plates are enough.

I’m a Martha, but I want to be like Mary.

Especially during Advent.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 41-42

Christmas decorations are good because they help usher in the season of peace, beauty, grace and rest.

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Our family is blessed by the beauty of the tree, ornaments and lights. We are blessed to share meals together on pretty dishes.

However, this year, I needed to stop before the decorating became a heavy burden.

On Wednesday afternoon, I stopped decorating.

I didn’t make a list of the things I still needed to do.

I didn’t start addressing the Christmas cards.

I didn’t start wrapping gifts.

For several hours, I ignored all my Martha tendencies to be like Mary.

I lit a candle, put White Christmas in the DVD player. Then, we laid down on the couch under a quilt.

Joslyn fell asleep on my chest and I didn’t lay her down in the bassinet so I could get back to decorating.

She is growing everyday, but she is still so tiny and cuddly. She curled up right under my chin and smelled wonderful, the way only babies do. I probably kissed her on the forehead forty times in two hours.

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Instead of decorating, I choose to rest.

This year, that’s what our home needs — less decorations, more rest.

The tree was pretty.

The afternoon was peaceful.

“All you who are weary, come to me and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Maybe for you, the pressure isn’t decorating. It could be baking, parties, traveling, wrapping gifts or shopping for the last few stocking stuffers.

Wishing you & yours rest this Advent Season,

Sierra Shea

(Thank you to The Nester for singing the song of rest & margin during the Christmas season, rather than beating the drum of perfection and progress.)