Thursday, October 6, 2016

Preparing for the Holiday Season




October.

How did we get to October so quickly. It truly feels like just yesterday I was sitting down to write out my goals, plans, hopes and dreams for 2016 and her we are just a few short months away from 2017.

October marks the beginning of one of my favorite times of the year. I just love the fall season. I grew up in a place where the changing of the seasons was always clearly visible in the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, and the festivities in my small home town starting up.

It was always a time for friends, family, and lots of fun.  A time where, while there was busyness happening, it was a different kind of activity.

Now that I am grown and have a family of my own the fall is still one of my favorite times because it marks the beginning of the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year are all times that hold a special place in my heart, and while we don't do things the way we used to when I was a kid there are still plenty of reasons to look forward to the holiday times.

Over the last 4 years of living here in Fort Worth how we handle our holiday season has changed in a pretty big way. When I first got here I was so set on making the holiday time feel just like it did back home that I really stressed myself out more than was necessary. Add on top of that homework assignments, a crazy work schedule, and a baby and toddler adjusting to life in a new place. I very quickly managed to make the holidays into somewhat of an idol for myself and I caused a lot of heartache for me and my husband along the way.

Here we are 4 years later and I can say that we do things much differently now. But the biggest thing I have changed up is in the way that I begin to prepare for the holiday season. Here are a few ways I prepare for the upcoming busy season of life to ensure the smoothest holiday season possible:

Prayer
The first thing I do, starting at the end of September, is to begin to wrap my holiday season in prayer. Dr. Pat Ennis, Distinguished Professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary shared on her blog The Everyday Homemaker a list of reasons why we should consider wrapping our holidays in prayer.

I wrap the holidays in prayer because I
  • should have a sincere heart when I begin to make holiday plans (Phil. 1:10).
  • know that for the holiday to bring glory to my heavenly Father, I must have his strength (Phil. 4:13).
  • want to have a heart that submits to my heavenly Father’s instructions (Rom. 12:13b).
  • need to approach any opportunity to minister with a "hearty attitude" (Col. 3:23).
  • have a desire to wear "the garment of humility" during the season (1 Pet. 5:5).
  • desire to have a gracious spirit in the midst of unforeseeable circumstances (Prov. 11:16).
  • long for my extension of hospitality endeavors to have far-reaching implications (Heb.13:2)
  • need to be excited about allowing others to catch a glimpse of my character where it is most graphically displayed—in my home—especially if I am in a position of leadership (1 Tim. 3:1–2; Titus 1:7–8);
  • desire to stimulate conversations that are edifying (Rom. 15:1–2) and encouraging (1 Thess. 5:11) to my guests.

If you continue to read though the blog post on wrapping your holidays in prayer there is a weekly challenge added in to help begin to be intentional with our prayer for the upcoming holiday season.

Planning
The second thing I do when it comes to preparing myself early for the holidays is to begin planning. I take the time to sit down with my calendar open and I write down all the things that I know for a fact along with the dates that I need to be prepared for in the coming months. This means church functions, family gatherings, and any other outside engagements that might be coming up. I get it all written down in my planner so that as new things begin to pop up I can easily go to my calendar and know where we are free to join in, where we are already engaged, and what things we can take off our plate because it just doesn't fit with the season of life we are in. When I know what is going on ahead of time I don't have to feel guilty for saying no to someone or overwhelmed for saying yes too many times. I am also able to know if I need to bring anything along with me, a gift, food, or anything along that line and I can prepare adequately.

By taking the time before hand to do those 2 simple things I can set myself and my family up for a fun, enjoyable, and somewhat relaxing holiday season.

What do you do to prepare for the holiday season? Do you get a head of things or just let them happen as they go?

7 comments:

  1. I've never thought to pray for holidays. That's a good idea though a lot of people get stressed over them and I font undertake why. Holidays are supposed to be fun.

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  2. What a great idea to pray for the holidays and upcoming season. A lot of times we get so wrapped up in making everything perfect- sometimes we get a bit flustered. It's always helpful to ask God to guide our hearts and mind through everything we do.

    Fall is my favorite time of year as well. I like that you plan ahead all of your activities and functions so you know what is going on- I should do that too!

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  3. Hi Elizabeth,
    Here are my answers to your two questions!

    What do you do to prepare for the holiday season?

    As a pastor, I start thinking about how it will affect my preaching and the church in general. Those involved with holiday ministries in place? What passage should I cover for Christmas Sunday?

    For my family personally, we don't do as much for Christmas, wanting to avoid the commercialization.

    For Thanksgiving, my family gets together and largely my mom and wife handle the meal :).

    Do you get a head of things or just let them happen as they go?

    I think we try to plan ahead...in the church and in our home.

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  4. I never considered how we may idolize the holiday sEason but I can swe that happening easily. Something to keep in mind this season.

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  5. I love the holidays and love to pray, but I never really thought about praying over the holidays. Your reasons and scriptures make so much sense! I'm pinning this for reference. :)

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  6. So crazy that it is already October! Wonderful post!

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  7. I love the idea of wrapping the holidays in prayer! I am for sure going to do that this year.

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