How to Have Less Chaos and More Peace During the Holidays

Our expectations of the holidays need to be balanced with freedom and discipline.

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We want to go to our Father with open hands and ask what He wants for our holidays, making room for less chaos and more Jesus.

Being a first-time mom wasn’t easy. I wish so badly I was a baby person, but I’m just not. Don’t get me wrong, I love babies and will circle new moms like a shark when they bring a baby into my presence. I also am obsessed with my kids, obviously, and had a really hard time putting them down. However, the baby stage wasn’t my favorite. I know most moms yearn for those days, but I am just not that mom. Bring on the big kids, even the terrible twos because little toddler tantrums are hilarious to me. What’s not hilarious to me is all the crying newborns do and then all the sleeping. Oddly enough, the seasons with little bitties were the most overstimulating and understimulating times of my entire life.

Then one day a friend gave me some of the best advice that I now apply to all life situations: “Becky, you need to just expect that she (my baby) will be a baby today. That’s all. Expect nothing more and nothing less. Babies cry on average for three hours a day, sleep for sixteen hours a day, and eat six to eight times a day. Expect that to be your average.”

I don’t know why this blew my mind as a new mom, but it totally did. It helped me realize that for all but five hours of our day, my baby would either be asleep or crying, and never in a typical pattern. Then for those remaining five hours my baby would want to eat six to eight times. I still didn’t love the screaming cries that weren’t easy to soothe most of the time. But I kept repeating to myself: “She’s supposed to cry for three hours a day. This is good for her lungs.” Then when she was still sleeping and I just wanted to go do something or get some interaction back, I would remember, “She’s supposed to sleep for sixteen hours a day.”

This has been a helpful perspective that I’ve applied to many relationships in my life, not just parenting. To take a step back and be realistic about what others or things are actually able to offer.

We want to go to our Father with open hands and ask what He wants for our holidays, making room for less chaos and more Jesus.

Becky Kiser

Realism with Hopefulness

I am always “glass half full” and “a world full of possibilities” in my approach to life. My husband is always “glass is actually a third of the way full” and “facts are facts, Becky.” He can be such a joy-kill to my idealism and big dreams. In reality, he is just the perfect balance to me, and I to him. We need both. Our expectations  of  the holidays need to be balanced with freedom and discipline.

You have freedom and permission to dream and hope in big things for your holidays. We want to set goals and go after a better way. We want to learn from others, taking the good pieces from their holidays and implementing them with ours. We want to go to our Father with open hands and ask what He wants for our holidays, making room for less chaos and more Jesus. Your Father is a creative God who also did things in unexpected ways, oftentimes in a way that seemed impossible. Tap into the same creativity you’ve inherited in Him and ask Him to do what seems impossible—full of faith in God and grace for yourself and others.

To the same extent you have freedom to dream and hope, make it your goal to also be realistic. Being realistic is not the same thing as being a defeatist, a pessimist, or thinking the world is out to get you. Being realistic means we expect from others, ourselves, and the holidays what they are actually able to give.

We’ve heard Romans 8:28 before, that “all things work together for good . . .” Certainly out of context this sounds nice, doesn’t it? But in context, it sounds even better and really fits in with what we are trying to understand about being realistic while going into the holidays with wide-eyed expectation. Our God can use anything and do anything!

Read Romans 8:18–30 and think about what it teaches you about yourself and God in light of your hopes, realities, and expectations:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise  the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the  Spirit,  because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he  foreknew  he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

We have to trust that God, who foreknew and predestined us, wants our holidays to honor Him, His Son, and the Spirit. That He is actively working for our good because it brings Him glory. That His Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and will show us how to pray and hope when we feel clueless. Then we live out verse 25 and “wait for it with patience.”

Excerpted with permission from Sacred Holidays by Becky Kiser. Copyright 2018, B&H Publishing Group.

Learn More about "Sacred Holidays" by Becky Kiser

Do you enter every holiday wanting it to be meaningful for your family, only to find that it feels chaotic with no direction? Holidays are meant to be more than chaos with glimpses of grace; they are meant to draw us closer to God and one another.

We want all the whimsy and joy the holidays held when we were children before life crowded it out. We want the holidays to reflect our love for Jesus and reveal the grace that has been lavished on us, but life is so busy that setting a game plan just doesn’t happen No more. It’s time to stopping trying to survive the holidays or overindulge the whimsy, and instead live in the abundant life He called us to live.

Sacred Holidays is part book and part resource: meant to help you avoid what has tripped you up in the past and give you insights, tips, and tools to make your holidays less chaotic and more about loving Jesus and others. Don’t let your holidays be marked by regret, whimsy whirlwinds, or survival mindset. Let’s celebrate every holiday together purposefully and worshipfully – loving Jesus and others well in every moment.

Becky Kiser is intent that women would fall in love with God’s Word, then feel equipped and empowered to live it out. She is the founder and CEO of Sacred Holidays—a ministry dedicated to helping women find less chaos and more Jesus during holidays through Bible study, community, resources, and lots of fun! She is determined to help women keep all the whimsy of the holidays, but help make them sacred—holy and set apart. Becky and her husband, Chris, live in Houston, Texas with their three girls.