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  • Writer's pictureMegan Evans

10 Ways to Un-hurry the Holidays This Year

Unhurry Hack: Joyful activities can quickly go overboard when distraction & hurry are at the center of celebrating.

Does this season find you groaning or grinning? Holidays are meant to be celebrated, but sometimes the bustle of preparation and festivity can leave us wishing to take a pass instead.

What if there was a way to enjoy the merriment without the hurt of hurry?

Whether we are celebrating thanksgiving, Christ's birth, or ushering in a new year, there is much to remember and reflect upon during these cooler months. There are many special days worth enjoying! The basic definition of celebrate means "to engage in a joyful activity in appreciation of an event" (Word Hippo). However, if you are like me, engaging and appreciating can quickly go overboard.

What if there was a way to enjoy the merriment without the hurt of hurry?

To guard my heart this season, I have come up with a list of 10 ways to unhurry the holidays this year and I invite you to join me in with me:

1. LOOK UP & LOOK OUT - When you feel tension to beat the clock, try physically lifting your head. Close the phone, take a deep breath, and notice what is around you. Just this week while scrubbing dishes, I tried this, and my eyes landed on a soft ray of sunshine piercing through my kitchen window. It boosted my spirit and revived me to finish the task at hand. What a wonderful gift God allowed me to enjoy through His creation, and I would have missed it had I stayed intent on rushing to clean up the kitchen.

2. ENJOY THE PROCESS - Here is where chores can become gifts. Repetitive actions found in activities like cooking or crafting, even exercising can be cathartic. So this season when you find yourself chopping, stirring, wrapping, or even addressing a stack of envelopes, try to avoid multitasking and rest in the rhythm of repetition instead.

3. TAKE IN ALL 5 SENSES - In my book Permission to Walk, A 40-Day Journey to Unhurried Peace, I challenge readers to take a "60 second challenge" : Go outside if you can, or at least to a window. Then, for 60 seconds just be still and look at God's creation in nature. What do you see, hear, taste, feel, or even smell? Take note of things like the intricate veins of a leaf or the variety of notes in a bird's song. A minute feels long in our hurried culture today, but slowing down helps us shift our priorities to keep Jesus first.

4. LET GOD'S WORD BE THE FIRST WORD - It is tempting for me to grab my phone first thing in the morning and let the world wake me up, but I find it challenging to fully circle back to God's Word once the daily rush begins. Can you relate? However, when scripture is the first message we allow into our hearts and minds, we get to experience His joy and peace first thing and God's Truth becomes a filter for all other daily input. In the holiday rush, keep a bookmark in your Bible, post-it note with verse written, or keep a devotional book handy for the first few moments of the morning. This leads us to #5 ...

5. SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS - What do you need to have ready in order to make spending time with God possible during the holidays? Are you traveling? Try keeping scripture cards in your suitcase or make-up bag. Showering or getting ready in the morning may be the only quiet moments you have in a houseful of guests. Jesus stepped away from the crowd to be alone with His Father--we can too!

6. PAUSE TO THANK GOD - We are quick to say thank you as we unwrap and admire our gifts. God is such a Good Father and Good Provider. His grace, mercy, and lavish love are often why we celebrate, but can easily get pushed to the background in a festive flurry. Who/What are you thankful for in your life? What would you say to thank God for who He is and what He has done? Will you join me in an extra challenge to Praise God and thank Him for the hard things in our lives and the many ways He draws us close and reveals His character and promises? God is good!

7. BLESS SOMEONE - Have you noticed that serving others lifts our spirits as well as slowing us down? Try something unexpected like taking a neighbor a loaf of yummy bread, or sending an encouraging note to a friend you haven't seen in a while. Shop for an angel tree or send an extra monetary gift to a missionary. Grab a few friends and sponsor a family in need--some of my favorite memories are volunteering with family and friends. With winter weather approaching, look for opportunities to check on shut-ins and others who may not drive in severe weather. Adding one of their needed items from the store is a great way to pause the rush as well as delivering a smile. Above all, serving allows us to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

8. SAVOR - Whether it is food, music, people, or landscape, pause to intentionally enjoy it. Be present and soak it all in--your gift of presence may be the very thing a friend or family member needs this year.

9. KNOW WHEN TO SAY WHEN - okay, okay the obvious here is our waistline, but in terms of holiday bustle we have permission to say "enough." Sometimes we need to turn down the invitation, buy the store bought version, ask for help. I love the Pinterest version of Thanksgiving and all things Christmas, but I have learned the hard way that our family version is way better--wouldn't you agree? Spills, goofs, and simplicity have a way of making fun-filled memories.

10. BE INTENTIONAL - Reflect on the "why" behind traditions and preparations. Are they necessary or needed? Do they distract from the meaning of day and/or the people we celebrate it with? Or do they glorify God and keep hearts present, joyful, and focused?

Make time to pray over distraction and focus this season. Moments of worship scattered throughout our day can help us keep Jesus at the heart of our holiday worship this year. For further reading, check out: INTENTIONAL ADVENT: Enjoying the Better Portion of Christmas and download the free printable advent cards to help you pause & pray this season:


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