This Christmas: YES to simple. NO to stress.

It’s a week before Christmas and spectacular thunder splits the sky wide open. Clouds cool and crack – flash – darken – rumble deep. And burst torrents. The boys are late-afternoon-snoozing through the storm after long hot days of play and late nights of lights and pillow fights ‘cause ‘tis the season to do life with friends and family.

The lights on the tree glisten through the rain and I think how this electric summer sky pours gospel that can’t be ignored –

God is Big.

Storms can do that. They simplify. When it storms here on the Highveld, decisions are easy. You don’t wonder much about bringing in the washing, or getting the kids out of the pool. Big shows up, and small knows. Simple as that.

And I’m trying to keep Christmas simple like storms but I’m still baking and bottling and shopping and wrapping, according to tradition. The rain seeps life into the lawn and I’m thinking: If traditions are a sign that life has passed from generation to generation – then maybe a simple Christmas means not enforcing a tradition if the life has gone out of it because we insist upon standing on it – and suffocating it?

And I’m thinking: What if Christmas was simple like that – simple like downpours that bring life and perspective and clear the way forward? What if, every Christmas, Big showed up and we stayed small?

So friend, what if this Christmas we decked the halls and set the tables with simplicity instead of stress?

We could say no to the worry of matching up, the dread of patching up, the sweat of baking batch after batch and snatching at calories to cope. No to feeling trapped by tradition turned sour by obligation. No to getting defensive – to putting our stamp on Christmas. No to nursing hurts and collecting offences. No to stress.

We could say yes to I am second because maybe peace on earth and goodwill to all men means that we don’t get our way at the table or the tree and maybe that doesn’t matter or undermine – like how it didn’t matter or undermine the majesty of a King in a manger who didn’t think of equality with God as something to cling to. We could say yes to living the season drenched in the shimmer of Christ. Yes to grace. Yes to simple.

Simple – like storms. Because there’s no ignoring the simple blazing kind-of-terrifying truth of how God splits open the sky, or how he sent his Son to split history wide and forever.

So I’m celebrating that.

And wishing you a simple, sparkling Christmas.

. . .

Thank you so much for stopping by at the start of this festive week. My from-the-gut prayer is that you would know the tangible peace and presence of Jesus – Light of the world – as you rest, reflect, revel and rejoice with those you love.

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And if you’re doing some simple, stress-free shopping? Get someone a copy of Dragons and Dirt: The truth about changing the world – and the courage it requires, on Amazon or Kalahari, or right here on through PayPal or Postnet. Half the proceeds of every book sale will go towards Botshabelo’s Preschool Teacher Training Programme in Olievenhoutbosch and other under-resourced communities in Gauteng. Because really, we can change the world.

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  1. Thanks Dee! La and I decided simple was the way to go this year as its just us and my widowed sister-in-law and two adult children (10 of us). When we suggested a simpler picnic meal and doing away with a few of the traditions we got “OH NO!” from the grandchildren. “We have to have gammon and trifle and what about your potato salad?” So, we have just tried to make it a little more low-key, but keeping the well-loved traditions. A very happy Christmas to you and your family. May the Lord bless you all with a wonderful day. Much love!


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