About the Author

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, heart-encourager, and grace-needer. She's also a wife and mom of three Joshua (26), Andrew (24), and Aster (13) and the best-selling author of "A Confident Heart." Her newest book, "A Confident Mom" releases in February 2022! Renee loves making memories with her family, creating beautiful...

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  1. The plethora of extra activities are a pic of God’s lavishness toward us but He also calls us to “Be still & know that I am God”. Trying to balance those & pick the busy that shows us more of who God is & leave the rest alone. Helps keep the frazzle away & we enjoy the things we do engage in more fully. Thanks for your reinforcing this encouragement! Blessed Christmas to you!

    • You are so right Ruth, the “plethora of extra activities are a pic of God’s lavishness toward us.” I have never thought of it that way. And I love the idea of picking “the busy that shows us more of who God is & leaving the rest alone.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts and encouragement. We all need more of our sweet, calming Savior and less frantic, frazzled days this Christmas!

    • Praying you feel Jesus’ gentle, calming hush over your anxiety Kim and are able to eliminate what stresses you most so you can enjoy what matters most this week and next. Merry Christmas!

  2. I have decided with my daughter’s encouragement NOT TO BAKE! And, the menu for Christmas Eve and Day is so much easier especially since my daughter, her boyfriend and I are all doing the cooking. But I am 67 and it took this long to figure it out. I also limited the decorating. Years ago we streamlined the gift giving. I can actually say this year in spite of all that is going on in the world, I am actually happier and not resenting the holidays. So, a great message we probably need to hear every holiday season and beyond. Blessings this Christmas.

    • Madeline!! Congratulations on letting go of the baking and letting family help so that this Christmas can be more enjoyable for all, including you!! That is a big deal and not an easy decision when you’ve been doing something for years. I love that you are happier and not resenting the holidays (like we all have secretly done). Merry Christmas!

  3. This is powerful to me… as I’ve turned over holiday baking to my brother, who lives with us. I have asked my bonus daughter to be in charge of the family white elephant exchamge (I still need to find a couple of white elephants to participate) and as we are thinning down & decorating less this year, no travel to see family (they’re welcome to come to our home, but they don’t) … it all feels odd, but it’ll be okay… in my heart I’m cherishing each day in the here and now… Jesus is here and now…

    • Terresa, sweet sister I’m proud of you! Making these kinds of changes take courage and a willingness to disappoint people but it’s so much healthier for us and everyone else too. It does feel odd at times, but the peace and memories we get to enjoy make the awkward so worth it! Merry Christmas!

  4. Thank you do very much for this . I have always felt like I had to do it all . Could not say no, cause if I did, I would make some one mad. So, what happened then is that I was the one getting upset. I am now working on saying NO more and not feeling guilty about it . Thank you again for this article .

    • I was right there with you, Ruby. Trying to make everyone happy and then feeling irritable, anxious and ready for it to be over by the time Christmas day came. It’s so much better this way and none of my people were mad or disappointed. Plus, I know Jesus was smiling and happy about the whole scaled back celebration which allowed us all to enjoy Him and each other more! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  5. So proud of you for listening to the Spirit’s prompting and reevaluating your traditions to figure out what was most important. It’s easy for me too to push down that anxious feeling and just try harder. This year I realized I was feeling overwhelmed by the thought of hosting tons of extended family so I asked my mom if we could do two smaller gatherings instead of one large one and for her to host one. She was happy with the idea and I felt so much calmer knowing I would be able to enjoy the time and be more present. God is so good to meet us right where we’re at and usher us into a place of peace.

    • I’m SO proud of you friend!! What a wise decision to plan two smaller gatherings and ask your mom to host one of them. I’m so glad you are feeling calm and anticipation instead of dread, knowing you will be able to enjoy the time and be more present. God is so good to meet us where we are and show us a different way. We just need to ask Him and wait for His lead. I’m working on asking Him sooner. 🙂 love you!

  6. Renee,

    Women like a big fancy Christmas with tons of decorations, huge meal & gifts for everyone. Trouble is they are the ones who must do all the work to make it happen. Often times they are the ones who don’t get to enjoy everyone’s company. They are like Biblical Martha worried about much-but forgetting what is most important. The only thing we need to do is celebrate the birth of Jesus. My hubby & I put up a small “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree with decorations & lights. For a few years I would help MIL cook dinner to help alleviate some pressure on her. I use Christmas cards I receive as decorations. That is it. This year both hubby & I will be working in hospitals. We feel those with children & families should get to stay home. We will have our Christmas meal on Christmas Eve & watch Charlie Brown Christmas.

    Blessings 🙂

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