Can I confess something to you? I don’t always look forward to the holiday season.
Perhaps it’s my previous years in ministry, planning ahead for the events and programs and using every last ounce of energy to pull it off, only to fall exhausted on the couch when all was said and done. Sometimes when you’re in ministry or volunteer roles, you get busy leading the programs and don’t necessarily take the time to celebrate the holiday yourself.
But this year, I am actually looking forward to it. Want to know what has changed?
I’ve decided to embrace the holy hush instead of the holiday hustle. And that, my friend, has made all the difference in the world.
Today, I’m going to invite you to join me in embracing the holy hush. And at the end of the episode, there is a special offer for you to put your pen to paper and be intentional about what this holiday season will look like for you, too.
The Holiday Hustle
Holidays can bring up a lot of different thoughts and emotions for people. What do they bring up for you?
Are you excited about all the sparkling lights? Nervous about seeing certain family members again? Dreading the reunion at your grandma’s house? Wary about the tears that might fall as you celebrate without your loved one for the first time?
There is no doubt we carry a lot with us during these months. And I believe part of what brings us a lot of stress is that we are so busy rushing around everywhere and trying to get it all done.
All the shopping.
All the holiday parties.
All the school programs.
All the church services.
All the Christmas traditions.
And on top of that,
All the laundry.
All the meals.
All the cleaning.
All the usual, everyday, ordinary work, too.
You know, the holiday hustle.
To hustle means to move hurriedly. What does that look like to you? Can you picture it in your mind?
Remember past holidays. Where did you rush? Where were you busy? What were you doing? How did it make you feel?
We don’t do a ton of gifts, but I know that when I don’t have my gifts bought and wrapped in advance, that is something that really stresses me out. I’m left trying to find a meaningful gift that will arrive on time or that I can get at the store, and often become frustrated and unable to be fully present during the celebration.
I also know that I don’t like to have lots of gatherings in one day. I can’t always help it; sometimes that’s just what others decide and we’re left to make it all work somehow. But when there are even just two events in one day, unless there is a sizeable break in between, it’s just really hard for me, and that’s something I have to consider in my planning.
The Holy Hush
It was almost a year ago that we talked about an alternative to the holiday hustle, which I called the holy hush.
The holy hush is actually a Quaker term for the deep silence individuals hold together with God, and it is in this silence that they believe God is present, that Christ comes among them.
In episode 92, I talked about different ways to practice this holy hush, especially during the holiday season, and I invite you to go back and listen to that if you haven’t yet or if you want to hear it again.
But the big idea is to create space in each day to be silent together with God. To sit with Him. To linger with Him. To recognize His presence there with you.
What might that look like for you?
Now, I do want to point out that practicing the holy hush doesn’t mean we leave all the gatherings and celebrations behind. It simply means we intentionally find ways to slow down, to cut back, so we can rest in His presence.
So in that example above, where there are maybe two or even three gatherings in one day, it’s important for me to take at least a couple of minutes to myself in between them, but it’s also important for me to try to block off time the day before and/or the day after. That is where the silence and stillness come.
What Will You Choose?
I know it’s not quite the same, but I’m reminded of when Moses finishes his speech to the Israelites before they enter the promised land. He said, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT).
I’m not inviting you to choose between life and death, but I am asking you to choose what kind of holiday season you want to have.
Do you want to rush around everywhere trying to get it all done, all the stuff others tell you make a great holiday season? Or do you want to enter into the season more intentionally, creating space for quiet and being fully present with your family and lingering with God and enjoying His presence?
Even if parts of your holiday are hard or overwhelming.
Even if you’re not looking forward to all the celebrations.
Even if grief is already starting to sneak up on you.
Journal Prompt: Do You Choose the Holy Hush or the Holiday Hustle?
Our journal prompt today is this: Do you choose the holy hush or the holiday hustle?
I know it seems like a loaded question. But let’s be honest: some people thrive off the busyness and celebrations of the season. That’s part of their personality, how God made them. And that’s okay.
But what are you sensing you need deep down in your soul? What is God inviting you to do? What do you want your holiday season to look like? Is there a way to incorporate the holy hush even if you are taking part in “all the things”?
Invitation to Pen Your Way to Peace Workshop
So, what’s that extra special offer I had for you today? I am co-leading a workshop on Thursday, November 9 called Pen Your Way to Peace. This is a 75-minute workshop that helps you use both planning and journaling to prepare for the holiday season.
I will start the workshop with a journaling exercise designed to help you process those joy stealers of the holiday season. You’ll be able to name what is weighing heavy on you and ask God to speak life and truth into that.
Then, Danielle Roberts will lead you through a time of planning and preparing for your holiday season based on what you wrote about in your journaling time with me.
Danielle is a certified life and business coach who specializes in helping women calm the overwhelm of their lives and businesses through productivity and biblical rest. She is actually my business coach, and she has been such a tremendous blessing to me these past several months. I can’t wait for you to learn from her, too.
This workshop will take place live on Thursday, November 9 at 7pm central. You can get access for $9 if you register before November 6, then the price goes up to $15.
And not only do you get the recording of the workshop, but you also get some bonuses from both me and Danielle to help you keep the momentum going. Because we really want to see you embracing the joy and celebration of Christ’s birth this holiday season.
You can sign up at lovedoesthat.org/holidayworkshop.
A Prayer to Be Silent with God
God, You have called us to celebrate Emmanuel, God with us, during the holiday season. And yet, we confess that all too many times, we are rushing around so much that we fail to recognize Your presence here with us at all. Would You help us change that? Help us embrace moments of stillness, of silence, where we can linger with You and enjoy being in Your peaceful presence. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
RELATED EPISODES + RESOURCES:
- Pen Your Way to Peace Workshop: Planning Tips and Journaling Prompts for an Overwhelming Holiday Season: http://lovedoesthat.org/holidayworkshop
- Episode 92: Practicing the Holy Hush Instead of the Holiday Hustle: Intentionally Inviting Moments of Deep Silence
Learn more and register for Journal Gently, an 8-week program designed to help you use writing as a way to process hurt, grief, and trauma with God.