It’s December.

I mean, the tree is up so that’s good. But, work is busy, life is very complicated, the world could go back into lockdown at any moment, and I usually need to go to bed by 9:30 each night in order to function as a human.

It’s been the weirdest year of everyone’s life, and everything that has always felt normal, has now changed. I’m not sure how Christmas will work this year with our extended family, we now wear Christmas masks with little Santa faces, and the crazy-busy-insane mall now has long lines to get into the stores. (no thank you!)

But it’s ok. 

Everything will come together. In fact, a simple Christmas doesn’t sound that bad at all.

Even before the pandemic came into our lives, I had already decided a couple years ago that I wasn’t going to let Christmas own me.

I used to really worry about everything.

Can all the expectations placed on me be met? 

Will our budget carry us through the season?

Did I get the right gifts?

Is my ugly sweater, ugly enough?

Is it possible to navigate all the complexities of relationships to make everyone happy?

There have been times when those thoughts kept me up at night. And to be honest, I have worried a little bit about this year. Sometimes, I get the wrong idea about what really matters. 

However, I’ve learned what is most important. It took a long time but I’ve realized that I can choose to make Christmas beautiful – no matter what is happening around me. 

I want to have joy in this season.

I want the true light that brings light to shine through.

Christmas can be simple AND meaningful. 

Christmas is what we decide it should be.  

Here are a few simple thoughts to help make this season more meaningful, and to make room for joy and light. 

Make Christmas about others. Christmas lists, an incredibly decorated home and Pinterest-perfect ideas are not what should measure your Christmas success. Take a minute to look around you. How can you show love and care to those that need it? In a year where so many people have felt isolated, how can you reach out? Be a bright light in the life of someone who needs you. There are people alone and hurting, their hearts shutdown. Think of ways to be Christmas love to them. 

Keep things simple.  This year, simple really is the only option. We can’t do big gatherings, or throw lavish parties. I looked at all the sparkly outfits at the mall last week and wondered who would buy them – I knew I certainly didn’t need one! But maybe it’s ok. Maybe when we have to scale everything back, we see the things that really matter the most. Maybe in simplicity we will find more joy. 

Create special moments. There are tons of moment-making opportunities all around at Christmas. Even in the middle of the pandemic, there are things that you can do to feel Christmas joy. Look for events in your community, special places to visit and choose a couple activities that you know will be meaningful – even if you have to do them a different way this year. Create new traditions! Moments doesn’t have to cost money, and memories are the BEST things to collect over Christmas.  

Take time to reflect. Whether you do advent, or a Christmas countdown – take time to celebrate what Christmas means to you. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voscamp is my favourite Christmas reading. A chapter each day takes me on a beautiful and significant journey right to the manger on Christmas Day. This part of my Christmas is so meaningful each year, and I can’t wait for it to begin. Slow things down. Whatever makes Christmas special to you, take time for those moments of reflection. 

Christmas will never be perfect. Things will not always go as planned. (Hello 2020!) This year will not be what most people are used to. But we still have the opportunity to focus on the things that will bring joy into our lives. 

This year, look around and remember that joy can be found in the simple.

 Reflect on the light that has come on Christmas.

The true light, that gave light.

It hasn’t changed, or left us.

It’s welcome wherever we are. 

There’s no restrictions on HIS love or presence.

So, shine His light.

Bring light to others. 

You can decide to make this the sweetest and simplest Christmas ever