A blessing for weeks when we let go

There are 18 days until Christmas (who’s counting, right?), and I think it probably goes without saying that this is going to be a holiday like we’ve never known before. We won’t be gathering with our extended family this year. No in-person Christmas Eve candlelight service for us. We’re unable to take our yearly family vacation during that week in between Christmas and New Year’s, that short stretch of time that a pastor’s family looks forward to all year long.

This year is unlike any other, and if you’re anything like me, you’re wearing yourself a bit thin from all the worrying about how you can still make it magical, still make it meaningful, for those you love.

But maybe this is the year when we choose to let go of the expectations, the pressure, the “should”s and “have to”s. Maybe we don’t need to worry about the matching holiday pajamas this year. Maybe we only make two different kinds of Christmas cookies instead of seventeen. Maybe we use big gift bags instead of pristine wrapping jobs for our presents, and maybe we just put a big bow on it and call it a day.

Maybe we take a long, hard look at our traditions and ask ourselves honestly if they truly bring us any sort of satisfaction or joy, or if we’re just stuck doing the same thing in the same way because it’s how it’s always been done (or, worse, if it’s because it’s what everyone else is doing!)

There’s a particular kind of blessing that comes when we take a look at what we have and declare it to be enough. There’s a peace that comes when we stop trying to be all the things to all the people, choosing instead to focus on what matters most to us. And there is an often an unexpected gift from being brave enough to try and do something in a new way.

This week, may we take a deep breath and remember that we are enough. May we stop chasing after the perfect photo or a certain number of likes on social media. May we be honest enough to name the grief that comes from missing out on things we love, but may we also be honest enough to name the relief that comes from letting go of things we didn’t care all that much for, anyway.

You are loved this week, friends. This week and every week.

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