You know at traditional weddings how the wedding party walks down the aisle while the musicians stand off to the side singing or playing their instruments? One of the first weddings I ever attended, the bride took things to a whole new level. Instead of walking down the aisle to a string quartet, she grabbed a mic and sang herself down the aisle. She chose an 80’s country ballad and sang with passion. She winked at the audience as she sashayed her way to the front of the church, and she sang even more fervently when she made eye contact with her groom.
She had a lovely voice and was a beautiful bride. Still, I thought,“This was the most awkward experience.” I wondered if she actually loved her groom or if she loved her spotlight. Had she just let go of the mic, would we have seen more of the love and less of the show?
At the heart of the Advent season is this idea of waiting for the “coming.” As moms with our littles, we wait with anticipation for the coming of the gift of Christmas morning, but we all know that the show or the business of Christmas can often overwhelm the true spirit of it.
What do we need to let go in order to make room for love – the only thing that truly matters this season? What “Christmas mic” can you drop so you and your kiddos can experience more love in the waiting? I recently asked a few moms and dads about traditions they’ve let go of in order to make more room for love. Here are a few of their thoughts:
Christmas Cards – Just because you’ve always done something doesn’t mean you can’t start a new tradition of not sending cards. I don’t put that pressure on myself or my family. If it’s too expensive or too stressful, let it go. – Jill
Christmas Lists – We stopped having our children write Christmas lists or circle images of toys they like in magazines. The lists helped my in-laws, but it bred a “getting” spirit in my kids.
Countless Traditions – I let go of all of the daily Advent activities, beyond reading one Advent book each day. Every time we added a child to our family, those daily things became more stressful. – Leslie
Comprehensive (Extended Family) Gifts – Instead of giving to every extended family member, we draw names. Some years, we don’t exchange gifts at all. – Holly
Crowds – The best thing we did was set aside a half day (away from everyone else) for just the five of us. Breakfast. Bible. Presents. Relaxing. It’s been great. – Matt
Comparison – I struggle with depression, anxiety and chronic illness which doesn’t go away even for the holidays. I stop comparing my experiences to other’s experiences, and let go of the pressure to be jolly all the time. I need to be OK with the amount of joy that’s in my heart. It may just not look like everyone else’s. – Carrie.
Certainly, don’t let go of anything that brings you joy, but if it’s increasing your stress instead of adding love to your Advent experience, give yourself permission to let it go and drop the crazy Christmas mic.
Aubrey Sampson is the author of Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame and Rebuilding Your Soul and an upcoming book on lament and hope. Aubrey travels the country teaching at churches. She and her husband, Kevin, and their three boys are church planters in the Chicago area, where Aubrey serves on the teaching and preaching team.