According to my Websters 1828 Dictionary...simplify means ~ to make simple; to reduce what is complex to greater simplicity; to make plain or easy.
That sounds great. In today's world we are too busy, we make things to hard on ourselves, we expect too much from others and then are disappointed when they don't respond the way "we" think they should, we have taken our eyes off what is important and are focusing on what is not.
We are simplifying alot in our lives. One of the main areas we will be focusing on is our December celebrations. I am so guilty of making this month difficult. While I do like everything associated with the holidays, I take my focus off the real meaning of the season and its turned into a huge commercialized day complete with a gluttony of gifts (which have been bought and hidden away throughout the year). The last couple of years, I have wondered how to stop the craziness and enjoy the time with my family. We are coming up with some plans ~ totally unlike me, totally different, totally prayed about, totally discussed between the 5 of us in this house, totally "uncommercial", and I totally don't have all the details worked out.
Here is what we know...We will be putting out some simple decorations ~ this will involve us going through the boxes of decorations that I have collected over the years and lots of decisions. Several years ago, Greg framed my hand beaded Nativity ornaments in a shadow box which we place on our mantle. We will probably frame more of our very favorites and place on the mantle also. We've got several Nativity sets that will be used. Beyond that, its iffy & doubtful.
Gift giving is going to be different also. We are going to gift throughout the year (random acts of surprise gifts) and will bless our children (+ others) at Thanksgiving. This'll be different for all of us. However A, K, and W are excited about going with us to the big Belks sale we hit every year and picking out their own goodies. So instead of buying, putting it away, and giving it all on Dec. 25, its going to be a year round tradition.
We do know the focus on Dec. 25 is going to be on family time, togetherness, games, good food, and relaxing. We are trying to eliminate the "Donna stresses out every year over what time the boys will be here, are the girlfriends coming too, when will we eat, will there be enough is someone changes their mind and decides to come, do we have gifts for them, etc."
We haven't figured it all out. We have read many passages of the Bible which clearly states not to worship and adopt the practices of others. So we are questioning "why we do what we do, is this right or wrong, do we feel like having some of these things are idols to us, where did all the traditions come from, is the Lord glorified in all of this, do we keep doing these things out of habit, can we pull the plug and jump off this merry go round." These are questions, we will be seeking out the answers to mainly through lots of prayer, scriptures, & family discussions.
These are things the Lord has laid on our hearts. They are not reflections on how we were raised, how we have raised our children till now, how church & society functions as a whole. Its us. Like I said earlier, we are still figuring this out.