Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of the details and preparations for Christmas?
I always have big dreams and expectations of what Christmas should look like, but unfortunately, life gets in the way of perfect “Joanna World” more times that not.
Worse, I can begin to resent the load and hard work it requires (though must of the pressure and expectations are self-inflicted). This year, I’m asking the Lord to help my heart and my home to reflect the joy and peace He came to bring!
It was so fun to connect with Sarah Mae, the author of Having a Martha Home the Mary Way. Though I immediately loved the title of her book (imagine why!), I fell in love with the girl as well.
Real. Fun. Wise.
Those are words that describe the time we spent together on this week’s podcast. While holidays require putting on our Martha hat, we can do it with a Mary heart. I hope you find the wonderful tips Sarah shares as helpful as I have.
Doing the Martha the Mary Way
Experience the podcast two ways: listen by clicking the play button on the bar below or watch the video beneath that.
Messy by nature, Sarah despaired of ever being a good homemaker. So much so, she began to feel insecure in other areas of her life. A pivotal moment came in a discussion with her sister-in-law who reminded her:Nobody has the authority to tell you who you are, but God. - Sarah Mae Click To Tweet
That changed everything for Sarah. All of a sudden her identity shifted from “homemaker” to “beloved daughter of God.” A woman who messed up now and then – but knew to look to Jesus for help.
Her desire grew from being a good homemaker to becoming a gentle homemaker. She no longer focused on keeping a perfect home, but keeping love at the center of her hospitality.
Out of this new identity and a year-long blog series that chronicled her journey to a happier, cleaner home, Sarah wrote Having a Martha Home the Mary Way.
She shares these following tips…
8 Steps to a Martha Home the Mary Way This Christmas
1. Do one thing at a time
Rather than become paralyzed by the many things that still need to be done, focus on one item that you can realistically do at that time. Be sure to celebrate as you cross off items from your list, one task at a time.
2. Prep helps the heart
Do little things to prepare along the way so that you can enjoy the big moments with family and friends more.
3. Cultivate a sense of awe and silence
The key to keeping a Mary heart in this busy season is preparing your heart. Take a moment to still your heart and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Then slow your pace rather than rush through your day. As Ann Voskamp says, “Life is not an emergency. Life is a gift.”
4. Settle ahead of time to be okay with the mess
Not only can all of the baking, arranging and preparing be a messy process, but the events themselves can bring clutter and unexpected detours. Determine not to lose your joy in your desire to keep everything perfect this season.We lose so much in our quest for perfection. Click To Tweet
5. Hold everything loosely
Come into the Christmas season with flexibility. Even the best-prepared plans can be interrupted. Surrender your ideas and best intentions to God’s good and sovereign plan.
6. Do the next thing
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the tasks of the holidays. Give yourself permission to do the “next thing” rather than the “everything.” [OOPS! You might notice, I forgot to put point #6 in the video. Sorry!]
7. Be willing to ask forgiveness
There may be times that you lose focus and react in frustration because of the many tasks at hand. Have grace on yourself and be quick to ask for forgiveness so you can move on.
8. Give up on perfect – relax & enjoy!
Determine to give up your expectations and relish the moments – everything from decorating cookies, welcoming friends into your home, preparing and sharing a family meal and exchanging presents. View every Christmas and each moment as a gift to enjoy!
From Joanna: This is such great advice! I’m going to apply these practical tips to my own Christmas. I hope you’ll do the same. As we invite Jesus into all of the details and preparations, we will know and enjoy the peace of His presence this Christmas!
More About Sarah Mae
For more great advice on “gentle homemaking,” check out this PAGE at Sarah’s website – filled with great advice and FREE downloads!
Sarah is a wife, mom to three, home-school teacher, and lover of black coffee.
Disclosure: I make a small commission for purchases made through any affiliate links used in this post.
I’d love to hear from you…how do you keep a Mary heart in the midst of all your holiday preparations?