3 Christmas Prayers to Beat the Holiday Hustle

3 Christmas Prayers to Beat the Holiday Hustle

3 Christmas Prayers to Beat the Holiday Hustle

When your gift list is long and your Christmas to-do list is even longer, this time of year can feel like we’re just checking off boxes trying to get everything done in time. So many of us feel pressured to try to do it all and do it all perfectly.

When your gift list is long and your Christmas to-do list is even longer, this time of year can feel like we’re just checking off boxes trying to get everything done in time. So many of us feel pressured to try to do it all and do it all perfectly. 

We shop to find just the right outfit to wear to that Christmas party, so we look festive and fabulous.

We skip or compensate for those Christmas cookies, so we don’t derail our previous diets.

We set up delightful decorations inside and outside the house, so everyone knows we are ready for Christmas.

Christmas comes but once a year, so we naturally try to make the most of it and pile on high expectations for our celebrations to be Facebook-post-worthy. But this pressure can disconnect us from the pleasure of the season and move us farther away from the purpose of Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be so busy striving for the perfect Christmas that I don’t even get to enjoy it. This year, I don’t want to get distracted by the logistics and the lists and miss the whole point.

Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Toa Heftiba

Choose nearness to Jesus over nailing every detail.

It reminds me of one of the first Bible stories that I really related to: the story of Martha frantically trying to prepare while her sister Mary simply enjoyed being present. 

In the book of Luke we learn about Jesus’ friends Martha and Mary. When the sisters had Jesus over for dinner, Mary spent her evening sitting at the feet of Jesus while Martha was preoccupied being a hostess, worrying about the food, the doing, and the details. Luke 10:41 (NLT)  says “But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing.” 

It seems my Martha-like tendencies come out at Christmas more than any other time of year. I’m distracted by getting greeting cards out in time. I’m distracted by the Christmas carol sing-along party we’re hosting. I’m distracted by the frustration of feeling like there is too much to do in December. 

Martha was upset that she had to do all the work while her sister got to spend time with Jesus. That’s when Jesus said to her: “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42 NLT).

This Christmas season I am constantly reminding myself of what I’ve learned from Martha and letting it refocus my heart on this powerful truth: there is only one thing worth being concerned about and it's getting close with Jesus, especially at Christmas.

As the distractions continue to pop up and as the lists continue to grow, despite my efforts, I am praying these three Christmas prayers to keep my heart aligned with this truth. I share them as my Christmas gift to you.

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"Lord, grant me the grace to choose being present over perfect this Christmas."

I have squandered many a precious Christmas season trying to diet my way through it and be “good.” The cost of eating perfectly (which isn’t even possible, by the way) during the holidays is missing out on lots of the holiday fun or losing your sanity in the process. 

As I’ve learned to follow Jesus not diets, I’ve realized food isn’t “good” or “bad”. All food is acceptable if received with thanksgiving. Food is a gift from God meant to point us to the Giver. We can eat accordingly and without fear. Even Christmas cookies. Especially Christmas cookies!

The experience of baking Christmas cookies is a gift, too. It's easy to miss that experience if we're stuck in our head doing the math of whether or not we can eat this gingerbread man and what else has to happen if we do. 

But God gave you senses to fully experience moments like this. So go ahead and enjoy the sounds of Christmas carols while you sing along, the smell of the cookie dough as it bakes, the sight of loved ones together in your kitchen, the feeling of warmth from the oven, and, of course, the sweet taste of a Christmas cookie that was baked with love. Getting out of my head and into the sensory experience of the moment is central to the gift of being present.

Maybe that moment includes arguing kids, frosting streaks across your new sweater or dashing to the store because you ran out of milk. That's OK. It doesn't have to be perfect to be good. Being present is about accepting what is with gratitude and joy. 

This Christmas I choose being present over being perfect. 

Pray: Lord, help me be present with what is, help me to embrace the messiness and imperfection, and help me to accept and receive the grace I need to do that.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images

"Lord grant me your peace so I can be still before you in the midst of the holiday hustle."

The pace of the holiday season can make me feel like I’m sprinting a marathon. I go a hundred miles an hour preparing for Christmas parties, travel, special meals and gift exchanges all while knowing in the back of my mind I’m going to have to keep my foot on the gas for all those big New Year's resolutions I have planned that are right around the corner.

This year I have to remind myself that preparing for Christmas does not actually mean shopping, or getting the perfect outfit picked out for the party, or cooking a restaurant-quality meal. Preparing for Christmas means preparing my heart. I have to remind myself not to get distracted by "preparing," because what I think is preparing is actually performing. 

When we realize we are falling into those Martha-like tendencies, the remedy is to rest. This year I’m challenging myself to truly slow down and act as if I believe I don’t need to do the hustle, even when those old holiday patterns trick me into thinking I do. After all, when we fully believe that Jesus is perfect, so we don’t have to be, we don’t have to hustle for anything anymore. 

This Christmas I choose being still over doing

Pray: Instead of focusing on external preparations, Lord, help me to focus on the internal preparation of my heart. Lord, help me to carve out time, even if it's for only 10 minutes each day, to be still before you and rest in Your peace.

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"Lord, grant me the wisdom to know what truly matters this Christmas."

This time of year it's easy to get swept up in our overwhelming schedules or shiny details and forget to remember what Christmas is all about. It's not giving the perfect gift, it's not making memories, and it's not spending time with loved ones. All of those things are nice, and all of those things matter, but it's not what matters most. 

I find myself asking the Lord for Mary's wisdom to know what truly matters most at Christmas: Jesus. Christmas is such a wonderful opportunity to place Christ at the center of our lives and re-connect with the joy that follows when we do.

This Christmas I choose Jesus over everything. 

Pray: Lord, give me the wisdom to be intentional with my time like Mary, and the wisdom to only be concerned with getting close to You this Christmas.

These Christmas prayers are helping me to slow down and live my priorities this holiday season: ditching perfectionism, being present, and remembering what matters most.  

More than any other time of year, I pray that we receive God’s grace and appreciate it as the best gift we’ve ever been given. We don’t have to strive for it or earn it. This gift says no perfection or hustle required! We simply have to make room in our hearts to fully accept it.

Erin L. Todd is a wife, dog mom, attorney-by-day and writer-by-night living in St. Petersburg, Florida. As a redhead who battled insecurity and body image issues for over 30 years, she now claims the concept of being both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously. Her blog “Ginger In Progress” was born from a spiritual awakening where Jesus set her free from diet prison. Now she is on a mission to empower and equip women to Follow Jesus Not Diets. Find out more about Erin and grab your free Intuitive Eating Starter Kit for Christian Women HERE.

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This article is part of our Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.

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