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Finding the Meaning of Christmas as a Single Mom: A Journey to the Heart of the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and for most of us that brings a mixed bag of emotions.

The season that is supposed to be full of joy, peace on earth, enjoyment and excitement for many of us has become the season of overwhelming tasks, anxiety, financial chaos, and feelings of inadequacy. Sadly, the more I listen to others talk around me, the more I realize how dreaded the holidays have become to some. Several people have discussed not only is the month of December dreaded by all the self-imposed traditions but down right hated due to the substantial financial obligations.

Expectations have most of us overwhelmed by trying to squeeze every free moment into trying to create a perfect holiday memory for our kids or others. The perception is that, although the holidays are intended to be special and full of life, it has evolved into headaches and obligations.

As I sit flabbergasted at how sad this reality is. I am reminded of the story of The Grinch. In The Grinch, Christmas was not the gifts, but the love of one another. In order to restore the joy, peace, and wonder of Christmas we need to go back to the roots and find solutions to best benefit the situations that overwhelm our peace.

Here's some ways to combat Christmas stress so we can celebrate what is truly at the heart of Christmas. Megan mason Christmas devotional the true heart of Christmas Midwest City oklahoma mom community

Change how we speak about Christmas for our kids

This year as a single mom, I've realized that how I celebrate Christmas and what I prioritize in the Christmas season will shape my children's perception of it. If I complain about the overwhelming schedule or cost of Christmas, unintentionally I am conveying that Christmas is a hassle and a money pit to my kids. However, if I choose to speak life it will shape how they perceived the holidays. It will help them grow up in a positive way and not continue any pre-existing Christmas dread on my part. Speaking life can look like talking about the joy of being around loved ones and perhaps that I am proud that we are sticking to our Christmas budget this year. Perspective is key and intentionality is hard, however being mindful of the words you speak is the difference of how you can shape your child's values of Christmas that can last well into their adulthood. Megan mason Christmas devotional the true heart of Christmas Midwest City oklahoma mom community

Traps to avoid

The daunting responsibility of trying to make the holidays memorable and heartfelt for our children is admirable, but perhaps our expectations have become unrealistic. A common trap that parents fall into is trying to out due themselves every year.

First don't try to out due yourself, the point of Christmas is not material possessions, it is not a competition. Make sure to remember that presence matters more than presents, especially to kids. Single moms can feel even more pressure to overcompensate during the holidays to try to make up for the "broken family" aspect or the fact they don't feel like their kids get as much as their peers. It is important to not fall for that trap it only creates problems in other areas.

The second common trap is parents try to compare themselves to others. Comparison is a thief. The perfect Pinterest mom and boards are not realistic or practical mama! Your mismatched stockings will be a funny memory growing up as opposed to the ones they weren't allowed to touch.

Lastly, we feel pressure to recreate past memories. Recreating memories can be useless, as they never seem to measure up to how we picture them. Looking back on past Christmases in my own life, the memories that are most cherished about Christmas are the ones that happened spontaneously. Dancing in the kitchen with my dad to Christmas music while making cookies is my personal favorite. The dancing was impromptu and I realize my kids won't remember what I specifically hope them to. They will have their own cherished memories and mostly likely it will be something you didn't even try to manufacture but something that happened naturally. Megan mason Christmas devotional the true heart of Christmas Midwest City oklahoma mom community

Prioritize peace

I heard it said that in order to say "yes" to great things you must say "no" to good things. I think part of the overwhelming anxiety this time of year is the amount of planning that takes place. Not only do we want to spend quality time with our immediate family, but then also withextended family. But wait- we can't forget to make time for friends, throw in a community event and an office party and suddenly you don't know if you can even find time to do some shopping much less bake, wrap, and travel!

What do you do other than keep in line with the chaos?

My suggestion: schedule differently throughout the year. I've realized that December is not a month I can realistically physically see everyone I love and value in one months' time. Instead of feeling guilty about this fact, I can be intentional about scheduling time to see friends and loved ones throughout the year.

Perhaps seeing cousins in October and again after the New Year would benefit everyone in the long run. Phone calls mean a lot, even if you cannot see someone as often as you wish, a conversation can go a long way in knowing that you are thinking of them. This also maybe the year that the office party gets skipped because participating in baking with your kids is honestly just more important to you. Everyone prioritization will be different, but the point I hope to express is show love to others throughout the year. If you aren't able to make it to every event or family function in the month of December, commit without doubt to the decisions you have made to keep peace in your heart and home this season. Megan mason Christmas devotional the true heart of Christmas Midwest City oklahoma mom community  nativity

The reason for the season, the entire point

Ultimately, we celebrate Christmas by giving gifts and spending time to those we love most because it is the reflection of how God loved us by sending us His greatest gift in love, His son Jesus. This is why we value time with family this month more than any other and we try so hard to make this month so full of love and life. Unfortunately, the enemy knows how hard we try this time of year to keep up with all the traditions, family, events, and schedules.

The devils' favorite tools are busyness, guilt, shame, and financial problems. We can make the devil's job harder by not participating in his handbook! We can combat it by intentionally making time for Jesus during the holidays. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace in the Bible and ives us peace when we feel like we don't have enough. When we don't feel enough.

When we make time to consider Jesus in this season, everything else seems clearer on how to proceed. Everything that felt like chaos before becomes quieter.

Sitting in His presence (hanging out with Him and talking to Him throughout our day) allows us to fully enjoy what was meant to be a time of peace of earth: Christmas.

If you need peace this holiday season, you can pray this prayer:

"Dear Lord, I feel so stressed and overwhelmed. I want to enjoy this season with my kids and family! Help me to see this season as you see it and take the pressure off of myself and give it to you. I give you Christmas and all of my to dos and recieve your peace. In Jesus name, amen!"

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