As Christmas looms large and Advent is upon us, are you feeling full of the fa-la-la-la’s or has the holly lost its jolly for you already? Amidst the crazy and colour and chaos and carols do you long for a little white space, breathing room, soul rest? Me too. I’m dreaming of a white (space) Christmas. Sorry Bing.
We all realize that this WHITE SPACE is not going to magically evolve under the Christmas tree. We need to be intentional about creating a little sanity time, an opportunity to make “all is calm, all is bright” a reality. Because let’s face it: if momma’s not happy, the Christmas is crappy. Am I right? So this is not about focussing on “me time” or being self-indulgent. It’s for the sake of sanity and it’s beneficial for the whole entire family.
Personally, I desperately need to keep Jesus front and center, lest I forget what Christmas is actually about. I want to bare His words in mind while I’m scurrying and baking and cleaning and shopping and wrapping:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
Unforced rhythms of grace. Recover your life. Take a real rest. Live freely and lightly. Sounds like white space to me. Oh yes please, and especially at Christmas! So I’ve come up with 6 ways to create a little white space for you this season… I’m absolutely preaching to myself and am determined to at least try to put them into action. Here we go:
- SILENCE. Take just 5 minutes at some point every day and sit by yourself in silence. Close your eyes. Set the timer on your phone (and then turn it over!) Just be. Gain perspective. It’s simple and it’s glorious.
- SIMPLIFY. Don’t you just love that word? At Christmas, it’s a life-saver. Got a hoard of friends coming over for food? Appies and desserts instead of full-blown dinner. Shopping list and no patience to hit the mall craziness? Two words: online shopping. Have cookies to bake for all the people? Crank the carols, do a gazillion dozen of the one type you know are winners (the easiest recipe you can find.) And don’t be afraid to say NO to some things. We can’t be all things to all people, even at Christmas.
- LISTEN. I’m a Hope*Writer and one of our founders is the lovely Emily P. Freeman. She recently started a weekly podcast called THE NEXT RIGHT THING for those longing to create some space for their soul to breathe (how good does that sound about now?) It’s just 15 minutes, but I feel myself exhale as I listen to her encouragement. Check it out HERE.
- LISTS. As a list queen, I’m a huge fan of the bullet journal (see my post HERE) and I love having all the things in one place. If you’re not a bullet journal fan, maybe just for this festive season select one pretty notebook and keep all your details in it: presents, meal plans, events, recipes, to do lists, the whole enchilada.
- GRATITUDE. “We give thanks to God not because of how we feel, but because of Who He is.” (Ann Voskamp) When we focus on God’s goodness more, we focus on ourselves and our stresses less. Find everyday things to be grateful for and write down at least one each day. Keep your list in your bullet journal/ seasonal notebook we just mentioned, so you can turn to it easily when the pressure mounts!
- READ. Advent is such a beautiful season, and in recent years I’ve made it a thing to deliberately soak in the anticipation of Christ’s birth by reading an Advent book.
This year I’ve chosen Joy to the World by She Reads Truth.
It’s a stunning compilation of scriptures, thoughts, recipes, carols and the prettiest graphics taking us to Christmas Day. I don’t want to miss any of it, so I have to slow down and take in.
There are many other lovely options, but as I’ve done the past few years, I thoroughly recommend these two beauties that I’ve come back to read time and again (with my Amazon affiliate links full disclosure here which means I get a teeny-tiny commission while you pay the regular price):
Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift
Liz Curtis Higgs’ The Women of Christmas
Friends, let’s be deliberate this Christmastime in creating white space amidst the flurry of everything bright and colourful and loud. May Advent be special for you as you seek to take time to appreciate the wonder and anticipate the celebration of Jesus. I’ll leave you with these verses of encouragement to see you through this most wonderful time of the year:
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)
Dreaming of my white (space) Christmas,
Want some Proverbs 31 wisdom to take you through the season? Sign up for my FREE ebook devotional, DIAMOND DEVOS 31 HERE!
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: