Today I am honored to share a guest post by Jeanne Doyon. Jeanne is a gifted writer, teacher and speaker. She hosts a women's retreat you can read about in her bio below. She has recently joined Morning Star Bright Lights Podcast in New England. You can listen to her interview here. I know her words will bless you as she encourages us to Pause to Savor the Season. She has also included a FREE download for you to enjoy!by Jeanne Doyon
I get it! We are so eager to say goodbye to 2020. As much as we want this year to end, it will do us good to slow down and savor the season. We need a plan to embrace the moment and beat the tyranny of the shoulds.
So much has been taken away this year so we need to enjoy what we DO have. How do we begin? Here are a few things I am attempting to do:
Reduce Expectations – this has been especially difficult for me because I hoped to see my children and grandchildren. It just isn't possible. So, I am thinking outside the box by being a virtual grandparent. It is amazing how many ideas come to mind to help make this season fun for them. Be sure to check out my complementing post on my website on this topic Christmas Outside the Box
Christmas Shopping - Shop early and don't go into debt over your gift list. Set a budget ahead of time and stick to it. Have your gifts shipped directly if you aren't getting together. The greatest gifts that have risen during this time of shut-down are LOVE and TIME. They don't cost a thing and the benefits are immeasurable.
Hostessing Dinner - If you are hosting dinner at your home, enlist help from your guests. Gathering is a community activity. When everyone contributes a side dish, dessert, or other part of the meal, it takes stress off of you and creates connection with your guests.
Simple is best, whether that is in decorating, meal planning, gift giving, cookie sharing, or whatever you have on your to-do list. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a season for everything. Our stage of life changes. And we need to graciously allow ourselves permission to simplify.
Not only do we need to simplify, we also need to be intentional about enjoying the season. One way to do that is to make time to ponder the significance of it all—Jesus came for us. He is truly the greatest gift. So take time each day to let go of the stress that the holidays can bring.
Here are some ideas to help ponder the season:
Keeping Your Focus on Christ - Read the first two chapters of Luke and Matthew. Slow down and enjoy the story. Meet the people. And imagine the wonder and glory when Jesus was born. I have included a resource to help: Download your free copy of, A Baby Changed Everything.
Take A Walk - My husband and I like to stroll through Christmas lights while sipping a hot chocolate.
Turn Out The Lights - sit with just the Christmas lights on and let the stillness and beauty hover over you—such peace. This brings to mind the Light of the World who came for me.
Participate in an Advent activity - Light candles. Read a devotional. Countdown the days using an advent calendar or paper chain. Did you know that Advent means someone is coming?
Sit Around a Campfire or Fireplace - Sip hot chocolate. Roast hotdogs. Read a story by flashlight. This is also a wonderful way to share favorite Christmas memories and family stories.
Enjoy a Christmas Movie - There is nothing quite like a family time with popcorn and laughter. Do you have favorites? Ours include:
Christmas Carol with George C. Scott
Charlie Brown's Christmas
A Christmas Story
Participate in Giving – Choose a worthy cause like, Angel Tree, Christmas Shoe boxes with Samaritan's Purse, or serve in a local soup kitchen. These embody the spirit of giving and generosity.
Go Caroling – So many have been shut out during this pandemic. Take your caroling outside a nursing home window, hospital, restaurant, or store. It will lift the spirits of both you and the listeners.
Of course, you can't do all of these things. Choose the ones that resonate in your heart—those that fill you rather than deplete you. Give yourself permission to include restful activities in the midst of the chaos around you. Because when we balance giving and receiving, our heart overflows.
This season, keep it simple. Turn off your phone for an hour. Engage your heart. Focus on your blessings and enjoy the wonder of this beautiful time of the year.
Do you have ways to savor the season? Activities to engage in with others while social distancing? Please share in the comments below. Your ideas can help others to make 2020 a bit brighter.
Jeanne Doyon writes and speaks from the heart, connecting the Truth of Scripture to everyday life. Her passion is to pause and see God’s presence around us, and in His word.
Jeanne hosts the Pausing for R & R (Rest & Renewal) Retreat, a unique getaway experience for women. She shares her heart for stepping away from the everyday distractions in order to receive God's rest and perspective.
She and her husband John live in the quiet corner of Connecticut. They have three children, a daughter-in-love, and three grandsons who all live too far away.