Yesterday as I was driving through Missouri after dropping my daughter back at college I listened to Christian broadcast radio for a while. (We got rid of satellite radio a few months ago when they cancelled all but one of their classical stations. I am even gladder about that decision now since discovering that their sacred/classical Christmas station has been cut down to a three-day period: December 24-26.)
Anyway, the program I listened to yesterday was a talk show about "faith and family" and featured a host interviewing a female guest about holiday stress. I don't remember the guest's name, but she was talking about how much women tend to burden themselves during the holiday season as they try to do whatever it takes to ensure a picture perfect celebration for their families. She said she was interested in encouraging women to keep things simple, focus on what is most important, and not try to do so much that we lose sight of the "reason for the season." It's a message I can appreciate and find myself taking to heart more and more. Last year as we were in the midst of an interstate move, I "punted" on sending out Christmas cards (gasp!). We are going to send them this year. But I am planning to keep the decorating very minimal. We are currently renting a smaller house than we are accustomed to and it is cluttered enough as it is without trying to squeeze in a lot of Christmas decor and knick-knacks. We usually chop down a real tree, but this year I am going to put up a small, (pre-lit?), artificial tree, open a box of bulbs, and call it a day. We plan to cut back the spending this year as well as we are trying to save a little more money to put toward a down payment on a forever home in the not too distant future.
But back to the radio broadcast. I was tracking with the guest very well until, towards the end of the program, she started trying to sell her line of products designed to help one attain just the right frame of mind and spiritual focus for the Advent/Christmas season. And here I was thinking I could do that by merely going to church. Silly me. :-)