The code word for me this Christmas has been “breathe.” I used to say the same thing to my girls growing up, because they had a tendency to hold their breath when they were nervous or stressed. 
God started speaking this to me at the end of November, as my husband and I were getting ready for a trip after Thanksgiving. Even though it was wonderful, we’ve agreed not to plan another vacation in the middle of the holidays! We were both struggling to finish projects and get everything ready for Christmas before we left. I was making myself sick—headaches, knots in my stomach, and unable to sleep at night. God spoke to my heart, “Remember to breathe, Beth.” 
“Oh right, Lord. Thanks for the reminder.” It has become a life giving word, pulling me back from insanity.
Have you forgotten to breathe lately? December can get like that, even if you don’t add a two week vacation on top of everything else. There is so much to do. We try to make it special and meaningful. We want to please everyone. Yet without the breath of God, we would cease to exist.
Maybe you’ve been running to and fro trying to get everything done in time to celebrate the birth of our Lord. But that’s just it, we’re celebrating Him yet so distracted and stressed about all the extra things we add to this season. 
It all began with a breath–The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). 
I think it’s interesting that Jesus chose to give the Holy Spirit to His disciples with a breath when He appeared to them after His resurrection—Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).
Before the very first Christmas, God breathed His Son into the womb of a young virgin—wondrously, miraculously bringing the Messiah who would save us from our sins. Andy every Christmas, He breathes new life into our tired, frazzled spirits. He breathes light into a world of darkness; hope into our despair. And when we hold our breath, busy and distracted, forgetting to take in the wonder of this news, He reminds us to breathe.
Do you want to breathe today? Here are a few ideas I am putting to work:

  • Admire Christmas lights in your community
  • Revel in crisp winter air, frosty snow-covered trees, sunshine, or life-giving rain
  • Hold the ones you love with a longer than usual embrace
  • Greet people with a smile and take in the beauty of their faces
  • Stop to ponder the people in the nativity scene and their role in the Story of stories
  • Read a daily Advent or Christmas devotional
  • Read the Christmas story in Matthew, Mark, and Luke and BE part of the action
  • Eat less, but taste it more
  • Choose movies and entertainment that feed God’s Spirit in you and your family
  • Praise God for physical and spiritual life!

I’m so glad you took the time today to read my blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos I’ve sprinkled in that represent every day moments of delight in this blessed season. May the breath of heaven hold you together, strengthen your frame, and fill your spirit with JOY everlasting. 
Merry Christmas!

#holidaystress #pauseforbreath #breathofGod #JesusChristmas