Calendar Stress

December 2015
When the calendar flips a page and December stares me in the face, the stress begins to rise. At this stage in my life I’ve already streamlined my list down to the bare minimum, so there’s not much more I can cut out. Physically, it’s all do-able, but for me, the struggle is mental. My mind runs to all the places it shouldn’t. The comparison trap holds me prisoner and steals my joy. The real reason for the season is in danger of being crowded out of my heart. It happens every year.

I can’t simplify my list, but I can simplify my goal.

The goal for every day and every month, including December, is to please God in all that I do. In my shopping, decorating, entertaining, baking, gift giving, and traveling, my goal remains the same—walk closely with God and honor him with my life. The only way to do this is to set my mind. Consider these words from Paul,

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God” Romans 8:5-8.

The mind directs everything we think and do, and has enormous power over what we feel. During this holy season, if we want to maintain a holy attitude, we have to set our minds. I’ve found the most effective way to do this is to continue meditating on Scripture—not take a break because life is too busy for God’s Word.

Every year when December rolls around I begin reviewing the Christmas story. I memorized Luke 1-2 many years ago and I love to say the words out loud as I’m cleaning, cooking, working around the house or driving in my car. The words keep me joyful and celebrating Jesus every day. When Christ is my all-in-all, I let go of lesser things and I ponder anew the reason why he came.

I’d love to hear how you keep December stress to a minimum.

18 comments to Calendar Stress

  • Thank you,Janet,
    I actually had the same thoughts this morning as I flipped my desk calendar over to reveal the busy month of December.Then I copied Christmas cookie recipes from my favorite blog site, marked on the calendar the date for our family gathering, then thought, “Make this simple, it’s all about Jesus”.
    A couple years ago, I memorized Luke 2,and I feel such peace and comfort every time I review my verses. I like your idea of reviewing while doing home preparations.
    Thanks for your timely reminder

  • Richie

    Great reminder, Janet, that the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace. I do tend to set aside scripture memory in busy times. And I wonder why I get rattled!

  • Shelly Larson

    Janet, thanks for these words. This is exactly what I needed today! I need to memorize that same passage in Luke this month. Thank you thank you !

  • Thank you Janet, love those verses in Romans 8, I find peace during this season by doing an Advent Devotional, scripture for today was Isaiah 11:1-2, 10 and love how Jesus gives wisdom, understanding, counsel, might and knowledge along with life and peace. I’m with Shelly and will start my spiral on Luke 2.

  • Juliana

    Last summer, after memorizing Psalm 1 and Titus as part of a group study of “His Word in My Heart,” I prayerfully set the goal of learning Ephesians by the end of 2015. By early November, I found myself bogging down in chapter 4. To avoid becoming resentful and discouraged, I decided to set aside that goal (and the self-imposed pressure to reach it by the end of the year) for the time being and take up Luke 2:1-20 for the holidays. What a breath of fresh air this has been! Thinking about the lives of Joseph and Mary is helping to put mine into better perspective, and I appreciate the reminder to “treasure up and ponder in my heart” the things that God is doing.

  • Ruth

    That’s a great idea about learning Luke 1-2 (or just ch.2) to go over every December. I do have a much harder time with memorizing in the winter, since I memorize most easily while walking outside for exercise. I do my best at memorizing in the spring and fall. It is especially hard for me to memorize and review with other people around, so the holidays are a hard time for me to keep it up with kids home from school and other family around. I am not a very good multitasker, so it is harder for me to go over Scripture while I am accomplishing other things, which is why it works so well for me to learn my verses while I am outside walking. Does anyone have any helpful ideas for me in this?

    To reduce December stress, it has greatly helped me to do Christmas cards/a Christmas letter early–I do the envelopes starting at the end of October (after marching band season ends!), and if I am signing cards I start that then as well (after buying the cards the previous year after Christmas when they are on sale), and then we get the letter written before Thanksgiving. You can order Christmas postage stamps online before the Post Office starts carrying them. A few years ago I found the book “Simplify Your Holidays” by Marcia Ramsland, which has some good ideas, too. I still sometimes get overwhelmed, though, with all there is to do. I think I will try to memorize part of Luke 2 this month. Thank you for that idea!

    • Hi Ruth, you have so many good ideas. Thank you for sharing them. I too memorize while I’m walking. I think its fine to just memorize in the fall and spring or whatever works for you. During summer and winter you can just review what you learned in spring/fall. Everybody’s system is a little different which is why it works for them. And every life stage holds it opportunities and challenges. Now that I’m an empty nester there’s only my husband and me, and he’s used to hearing me walk around the house saying scripture. Keep pressing on Ruth, so proud of you.

    • Juliana

      Ruth – An idea you might consider trying for “indoor memorizing” (if you’re not already doing this) is to post verses in the bathroom. This gives me short snippets of time to review/memorize on each visit. I haven’t done this myself, but I suppose you could even laminate a page of verses to post in the shower. (I’ve seen do-it-yourself peel-and-stick laminating sheets at Walmart.) I wish you the best!

      • Ruth

        Thank you, Juliana, for your ideas. I do already keep a New Testament, or a printout if I’m learning an Old Testament passage, in the bathroom to use, but your idea for the shower made me think of another one. I printed out my chapter on both sides of a paper and taped it to the outside of the glass shower door (so it won’t get wet), so now I can see it from inside the shower and outside. It already helped me today in learning my next verses!

  • Chérie

    My version of memorizing has worked super well for me. Some seem a bit out off by it, but I have to tell you that I’ve successfully memorized a lot of chapters and books in 6 years with my method. I did this as an almost single mom of 2 adopted children (with all the issues that implies) and was even homeschooling the first 4 years. I also am adopted and I face heavy ADD on my birth fathers side and OCD on my birthmom’s side. This is a disaster waiting to happen. But my method has worked for me well. I’d be happy to share with you. Just email me if you are interested. Love you mega memorizing sister. We need to strengthen and come along side each other
    so we N E V E R S T O P MEMORIZING.

  • Chérie

    Your willingness to be so transparent about your love for beautiful things is such an inspiration to me. I am the same way yet “things” are never in our budget as I made the decision to quit my career early on to be a mom to our adopted children. My struggle is wishing to decorate with the ability I know I have but without the budget. I’m so thankful you are willing to remind us that NO MATTER WHERE we each are and NO MATTER WHAT season it is and NO MATTER WHO is in control of the culture we live in that our focus HAS GOT TO BE on the Lord Jesus Christ and his Majesty. By reciting Scripture—be it a portion, a chapter or a whole Book we cannot help but focus on the ONLY THING that really matters and settle our hearts down. Our God given ability to primp, decorate and make all things beautiful is a gift, and we can steward it properly when we focus rightly. Love you sister.

    • thank you Cherie for all your comments. I think the enemy of our souls works overtime during this holy season to distract us and put our focus on lesser things. But somehow, the blessing of the depleted budget works counter-intuitively. The less we have, the more we focus on Jesus, and the greater the joy in the magnificent message that God came to earth as a baby and then died as our substitute so we could go to his Father’s one day and celebrate the real Christmas.

  • Chérie


    I memorized Ephesians. It took me stinking forever. Please stop and start as many times as you need to. I did! If you are ever interested I could show you how long it took me. Holy stinking cow.
    I’m so glad I finished it and wanna know why? I am an avid listener to sermons and by and large when I’m not reciting my chapters while being a mom —I am listening so I can learn more and I have noticed that the book of Ephesians is used so often by Pastors and Theologians all over the world. It is that rich. Never give it up. Never get discouraged. It takes as long as it takes. There is no timeline. You can do it. I’m a total ninny. If I can do it anyone can.

  • Shan

    Dear all,
    Thank you so much for your encouraging words and helpful ideas!! I set out to memorize 52 key passages in the Bible a year ago just in time to face possibly one of the most challenging years of my life. Although I haven’t finished all 52 passages, I have stored up in my heart some wonderful portions from Romans, Psalms, Isaiah, I Peter, and all of Psalm 63. Being able to “remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night” has been one of the most amazing benefits of Scripture memory. In the darkness of the night, my mind is renewed by God’s truth and made to focus on Him. We just downsized into a new home and neighborhood a week before Thanksgiving so all the helpful hints will be saved for next Christmas. (I can’t find my spiral for Haggai!) Meanwhile, during the busyness of this season I will keep reviewing my memorized passages and rejoice in the Word and in Christ my Savior and Lord. Reading Luke 1 and 2 everyday and memorizing a small portion will also be a goal. I will also recount all my spiritual blessings, and be a blessing to those whom God brings along my path. As for practical matters, I will just completely lower if not let go of all expectations of myself and others 🙂 God bless all of you and Merry Christmas! Love, Shan

    • Shan, Thank you for sharing with us. I too love that God’s Word is with me in the night. There are so many wonderful passages to memorize that I will never get to them all. Meanwhile, I’m so thankful for this community of memorizers, and all who love God’s Word. May all of us be Christ-centered during this holy season.