Monday, December 3, 2012

How to Pursue Peace this Christmas: 10 Ideas

 As we continue in our series "In Pursuit of Peace," Christmas is only three weeks away. I admit that I have already given in to frustration, anxiety, and stress, and the month is still young! 

There's so much to do at Christmas time, in addition to all the everyday chores, that it's easy to lose sight of what truly matters this time of year.

Christmas can easily become a time of stress and misery if we let it. That's why we must make a proactive choice to pursue peace.

christmas tree
Photo Credit: Milele


10 Ways to Pursue Peace this Christmas

1. Pray, pray, pray. 

The first step we should take any time we undertake a new task is to pray. Whatever we ask, Jesus promises to do, but, first, we need to humble ourselves before Him. Start the pursuit of peace by taking our requests to the Lord. 
"If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."

John 14:14 

2. Make amends

If you've had a squabble or disagreement with a family member, co-worker, or friend, work towards a resolution. There is no better time to forgive and forget than the holidays when love is truly in the air. 

Christmas is also the perfect time to share the Gospel. Songs of baby Jesus filling the air can provide the perfect segue into a discussion of salvation with the spiritually lost.

"For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall..."
Ephesians 2:14

spinning top
Photo Credit: Creativity103


3. Just say "No!" 

The holidays can pull us in a hundred different directions if we let them. We need to go shopping, visit family, attend countless parties and events, set up the tree, wrap gifts, and on and on. Unless we want to end up a stressed out, frustrated Humbug, we simply need to invoke that two-letter word. 

Determine top priorities this Christmas. Mark special events on the calendar. Plan for all the holiday cooking, baking, entertaining, gifts, and all the expenses associated with each. When a new event springs up, consider the cost--whether in time, money, or both--and, if necessary, very politely say, "Thanks, but no thanks." People will understand. 

"For wisdom is protection just as money is protection, but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors."

Ecclesiastes 7:12 

4. Keep gift-giving simple.

Picking out gifts is my biggest stressor at Christmastime. I really want to find something personal and thoughtful, but often times I totally miss the boat. This year I'm trying to reduce my stress by (1) shopping online and (2) only selecting 1 or 2 meaningful presents instead of 4 or 5 like I have in the past

One thing we're using this year (and that I wish everyone in our family would create) is Amazon Wishlist in hopes that family members will purchase gifts based on our personal needs and wants. The wishlist makes it easier for people to find and buy just the right gift. It's simple!  

Tauna of Proverbial Homemaker has a great post on simplifying Christmas by limiting the number of gifts and buying only what is practical and of good quality.
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have..."

Hebrews 13:5

5. Do random acts of kindness.

To have a heart filled with peace, we need to reach out to others and lend a hand where we can. When we find opportunities to serve--whether strangers or friends and family--we show Christ living in our hearts. And we find peace.

Some ideas might be to... 
  • Reach out to a new mom by bringing her a warm meal
  • Leave an extra tip for your waitress
  • Send a card to a widow letting her know she's in your prayers
  • Drop off a plate of cookies at your neighbor's house just because
I love Lil Light O' Mine's list of "100 ways to light up your community with kindness."

There doesn't have to be a reason to be kind to others. We just need to take the initiative. 
"Be kind and compassionate to one another..."

Ephesians 4:32   

A Perth Shopping Mall at Christmas
Photo Credit: Oatsy40


6.  Stick to the budget.

As I mentioned in #2 & 3, one important key to peace within the home is living within your means. For most people, that means having a budget

Knowing how much you intend to spend on gifts, groceries, and other holiday-related items is only part of the equation. We have to actually stick to the budget for it to work. When we overspend, we feel anxiety and stress, certainly not peace.
"The rich rules over the poor, 
And the borrower becomes the lender's slave."
Proverbs 22:7

7. Let it go! 

Sometimes we need to put our pride on hold in order to keep the peace. If mom or mother-in-law wants to buy oodles of toys for the kids, don't get irate even if she goes overboard. Just let her. Consider her joy as she watches her grandbabies open up her fun gifts.

For one day, let others do what makes them happy, even if it makes us cringe inside. We can always take back the toys. Christmas only comes one time a year. 
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

Philippians 2:3-4

8. Lower our expectations.

Okay, usually we want to have high expectations, right? But for the type-A woman, sometimes aiming lower is better. For everyone.    

Christmas time isn't about having the schmaltziest decorations or the fanciest hors d'oeuvres. We perfectionists need to stop looking at Pinterest or reading Martha Stewart Living and give ourselves a break. 

We want to enjoy the holidays, right? Well, that may mean not putting up the fifth Christmas tree or baking seven different types of cookies. We need to revisit our goals for the holidays and focus on achieving those--for everyone's peace of mind.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

1 Peter 5:7

9. Remember the real reason for the season.

If our priorities have veered a little off course, we need to redirect our focus by reading Luke 2. Even with the best of intentions, with all the talk of Santa Claus and finding the perfect gifts, we can easily lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.  

Here are four activities to keep our minds and hearts on Christ this season.

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."

Colossians 3:2 

Egg Nog With Cinnamon
Photo Credit: Dinner Series

10. Have some egg nog & relax.

Many women have a hard time sitting back and relaxing when there's work to be done: I know, I come from a long line of Martha's. But our memories will either be of all the stress and headache the holidays gave us or the fun, good times, and laughter we enjoyed. Find a way to step back from all the hustle and bustle, sit down with some egg nog, and enjoy being with family.
"...for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His."
 Hebrews 4:10

How do you plan to find & pursue peace this Christmas? What would you add to my list?

I'm praying God's peace for you & your family this Christmas,

Other posts in our series on Pursuing peace:
Pursuing Peace Week 4: 10 Ways to Live at Peace with Others
Pursuing Peace Week 3: 5 Tips for a More Peaceful Holiday Shopping Experience
Pursuing Peace Week 2: Submitting Our To-Do Lists to the Lord
Pursuing Peace: A Series to Help Us Enjoy the Holiday Season
Pursuing Peace Week 1: What is Peace?

Linking up with: The Better MomMonday Mom MusingsRaising ArrowsTime-Warp Wife, Artful Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesdays, Top 10 Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Leaving a Legacy, Women Living Well WednesdaysRaising HomemakersRaising Mighty Arrows 


  1. Keri, this is a great list for encouraging the pursuit of peace! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Thanks, Joy! I appreciate YOUR encouragement on your blog!

    Blessings to you & your family,

  3. Thanks, Joy! I appreciate YOUR encouragement on your blog!

    Blessings to you & your family,