Our Christmas tree is not up yet.
And we’re in the double-digits of December.
If you know me, you know enough to gasp and drop what you’re holding. Fair? Fair. Dramatic? Sure, but this is me.
Every year, every single year, the house is decorated for Christmas and the tree is up THE Saturday just after Thanksgiving. As in 48 hours after gathering around the turkey and the stuffing and the pie, our house is transformed by the tall Frasier Fir a glow in the piano room. I love the anticipation of it. Swapping the leaves and gourds for ribbons and garlands and lights and ornaments. The kids now expect it too.
And right there are the two words I’ve been sitting with the past few weeks; anticipation and expectation.
It’s the holiday season. And for a lot of us, the holidays bear more tidings of heavy expectations than joy. Are you feeling the weight of expectations? I am. The lack of a Christmas tree is hard for me. So difficult, in fact, I brought it up to my therapist.
Hey, are you laughing at me?
‘Tis the season of giving so I want to share my latest life lesson with you (even if you did laugh).
∞B A R E M I N I M U M S ∞
Using Bare Minimums requires a shift in thinking, for sure. Here is how it works: BEFORE going into a conversation, on a trip, on a date, sitting down to a family get together; you think of THREE things in your control that will make it a good experience.
It’s so simple and ordinary but the results are beyond that because you’re making room for something more. Releasing the grip of how things should be done or have always been done, can feel like you’re handing over control. Let it go. Bare Minimums help you let it go and make room for something more.
Here’s an Andrea real-life example. Over Thanksgiving Break, we went to Disney! This was going to be Lily’s first visit. And we had one day.
Here is what a list of “Smithbergers are going to Disney Expectations” could have looked like:
- We wear somewhat coordinated outfits.
- We would get the perfect Christmas card picture because…
- We would all be happy.
- We would get a picture with as many princesses as we could!
- The weather would be mild.
- I wouldn’t hurt.
See how I don’t even really have control over a lot there? Luckily, I had my 3 bare minimums because as for #1, I didn’t pack card-worthy coordination, just comfort. And believe it or not, we didn’t even see a single Princess!
Here were my Bare Minimums for our Disney visit:
- First, that we wouldn’t rush through.
- Second, We would bring snacks to avoid hangry Smithbergers.
- Third, I would try at least one ride.
And off we went. 6 of the 7 of us arrived at Disney, in unmatching yet comfy outfits, on a cloudy day with some snacks. And we had the best time!
Remember how I said the Bare Minimums can make room for something more? The simple list clears space so anything that happens beyond them becomes a bonus to tuck in your hearts memory.
Like this face.
Bean had no expectations. She walked in. Her jaw dropped. I cried.
Expectations and anticipations aren’t altogether bad. But my thought is that maybe they can hold us captive in the ordinary. And those disappointments trap us from the extraordinary, especially at Christmas time.
God and his love for you and his plan for you are simple. We’re the ones mucking it up. I know I am. The tree will go up when it does. And it will be special even if Jason doesn’t cut down the family pick at Mary’s Meadows and we just all agree on one from Home Depot.
What are good Bare Minimums for this season? Hmmmm… I’m working on my list.
Let’s clear it out. Spot what grips your heart, what makes your mind race and clear it out. Don’t let the ordinary keep you from the extraordinary.
The story of Jesus birth tells of how Mary and Joseph went knocking door to door, begging for a room. But one person after another said, no.
Don’t say no because it doesn’t fit your plan, it isn’t on your list, there’s no time or that’s not what you do.
Hold space in your sweet heart for the most extraordinary Hope of Christmas.