After I started my little exercise of thanking my Heavenly Father for this opportunity (i.e. the current house-less situation we are in) and what he’ll teach me, and after I asked him to help me see it as a gift instead of a trial, I’ve noticed something.

There is a strong sense of calm. There is clarity.

No, we haven’t found a house. But that’s okay. I’m truly not worried about it. Admittedly, I still check Realtor.com twice daily for new listings. But when I don’t see anything, I just put down my phone and go about my business.

Because in these prayers, when I’ve asked to see this situation as a gift and when I’ve asked Jesus to show us the amazing opportunities because of this, He started showing me.

One of my biggest worries has been about Christmas. We’ll be spending the month of December in someone else’s home. We’ll get to decorate in her home and spend Christmas Eve in her home. I was a little sad about this- just not having our home to decorate. I’m so thankful we have a home, the home of a dear family member, where we can spend our favorite holiday.

But I’m also so thankful for the opportunity to show my kids a different side of Christmas.

They’re going to see a slower-paced Christmas.

We won’t be hosting any parties. I won’t be tackling baking projects that stress me out. We won’t over-give to the point of overwhelming them. This realization came because we won’t have the space to accumulate tons of new toys, but I’m thankful to be cutting back.

We’re going to have a simple Christmas. It is going to be about togetherness. About sharing our evenings with Nana, and watching her as she gets to know the boys. And watching the boys as they ask her to read them stories.

Our schedules will be clear. There won’t be as many gifts under the tree. But our hearts will be full, and our loads will be light.

It may not be the way I dream of doing it, but it may be better for us this year. And maybe again next year.

We looked through the Compassion Christmas gift catalog a couple of weeks ago, and I’m looking forward to devoting our Christmas giving to this wonderful organization and the beautiful children it supports.

God’s provided us with this opportunity to enjoy each other and get away from the noise, the excessive gifting that I am prone to, and the opportunity to slow down.

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  1. says

    I totally understand about desiring to have a simpler Christmas. I am hoping to do the same thing with my family. Family is truly all that matters. I cannot remember gifts I received as a child, but I do remember the fun moments we shared as a family at Christmas time.

  2. says

    We spent last year in a house that wasn’t our own, so I understand your situation. I’m glad you’re seeing the peace in all of it, and I pray your boys are blessed by this as well.

  3. says

    It will be such a sweet time. No doubt at some point, you will look back at these days and remember them as the best days of your life. No matter where you wake up on Christmas morn and no matter what is under the tree, you already have the most precious gifts of all. 😀

  4. says

    Erin, I mentioned the other day on Twitter that you continuously inspire my faith, and the “gift not a trial” thing was incredibly well-timed for me this week, and I’m so grateful you shared that because I’ve gotten the same – peace.

    You guys will find a house. This will be one Christmas out of what will be dozens more. And really, Hudson and Hayes probably won’t remember this at all. And if they do, they’ll remember Christmas for the magical time it was regardless of where it was.

    There’s a plan. And it’s beautiful.

    But this Christmas, we’re keeping it small too. It’s just my Dad, my brother, and I. I don’t even know if we’ll cook. We may just order the meal somewhere, or we may even go volunteer at a shelter. There will be time again in my life for big happy holidays in a big house with the family I dream of. But, this year, I just have to accept that it won’t be perfect.

    But I know I’ll really, really appreciate those good days ahead.

  5. says

    We are in the same position this year. We are away from our permanent (although that’s another story as we debate if we should put it up for sale) home and in VA. Voluntarily, my husband resigned from his job to become a full time PhD student and I’m a SAHM. We planned for this so it’s not like we are in a bad position…just a different one…so things will be different. We are having a small Christmas here, limiting (if we do much of any) traveling and keeping it very low key.

    and really…isn’t that what Christmas is all about….keeping things simple, being with family and celebrating the season….not running around, stressing out and being overwhelming.

    Hope your family has a wonderful Christmas holiday!

  6. says

    We are going to be having a similar Christmas season to your family’s this year as we will have a brand new baby in our home. Since I have a really difficult recovery process (this is the 3rd time so we know the drill), my parents have graciously offered to let us move in with them for 6 weeks. We won’t be decorating our own home, but we will be spending the holidays with those we hold most dear. As for presents, there will be a few things underneath the tree for all of our boys, but we have always tried to make it just 3 things that they will appreciate and love. Instead of stressing about presents and where to store them, it just makes it easier to have a few things and focus on what really matters. Having a simple, joyful Christmas truly is wonderful!

  7. says

    Last December we sold our home and moved into my parents home while we waited to close on our current home and also do some renovations. It was really sad for me because I love decorating my home for the holidays and it was also my daughter’s first Christmas as a toddler so I wanted it to be very special. We had our own little apartment set up in the basement and I kept some of our holiday decorations from storage. We put a tree with less ornaments and still hung stockings. I even made a whole blog post dedicated to our “temporary” holiday home Christmas decor. 🙂 Looking back it was one of my favorite Christmases because it truly wasn’t about all of the holiday stress because I didn’t have to worry about decorating/hosting. Sometimes when life isn’t in our control, that’s when the best moments happen. HIS plans are always better!

  8. says

    Erin (LOVE your name, BTW), what a great God we serve! He certainly does work in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?? I have personally never been in your situation, but I’ve had times where it’s hard to understand things until I step back and give it to God. Enjoy this less-stressed Christmas with your family!

  9. says

    It is hard not to get caught up in the hustle of Christmas. We are trying to savor it with our kids too. I want them to remember memories of Christmas, not just collect junk toys that we have no room for anyways.

  10. says

    How special to be spending Christmas together, in a simple way, the way that Christmas was intended to be celebrated. Finding a house can be so stressful. Are you interested in building at all?

  11. says

    Even though this isn’t the Christmas you would have planned for yourself, I’m sure it will be a Christmas to remember. How special to share this season with Todd’s grandmother. We’re trying to go simple this Christmas, too. The boys have so many toys and we have so much stuff and there’s nothing we need. I hope we’ll be able to focus on the Reason for the season and simply enjoy each other and what we do rather than run around crazy buying things for the sake of buying.

  12. says

    A change in perspective can definitely be a good thing, especially this time of year. Back in the fall of 2004 my parents’ home was severely damaged by back-to-back hurricanes, so we spent most of Christmas break in the hotel, we had a fake two foot tall Christmas tree, and literally hung our stockings from the new framing in the house where we didn’t have drywall yet. We are typically Christmas decoration fanatics, but that year we really just focused on how lucky we were to have each other, that no one was harmed, and that regardless of the housing situation – Christmas still came. We still had much to celebrate, and it was focused more on the right reason for the season. I’m sure you will find the same!

  13. Bridget says

    Thank you for this post. I have looked in at your blog on my reader from time to time, and your recent posts really speak to me. I too have a difficult house and family situation that I am praying about, and I am really trying to understand God’s plan for us. I am not the most religious person, but am trying to be more “prayerful” in my daily life. In any case, this post came at the right time for me. Thank you again, and best wishes on your own house situation!

  14. Sarah says

    Seems to me that this “simpler X-mas” is just what you need since it will be way less stressful for you. I think it will be good for your kids to experience a X-mas w/out the commercialism and where their parents can really spend quality time with them and aren’t all stressed out w/ their long holiday to do lists.

  15. says

    What a wonderful way to think about this time for your family! I’m not sure I would be looking at it as such a gift:) I hope you all have a simply wonderful time together:)

  16. says

    We lost our home to hurricane Ike in 2008 and we stayed at my brothers from Sept- Dec 23 so yes I was in a weird way jealous of my dear SIL for getting to decorate I did not know God had an awesome plan. We rebuild then sold that house last year to move into an amazing model home w two masters downstairs where my elderly parents are now w us;))) what an awesome God he is indeed!! It will all work out sweet girl but yes I know what u mean:)

  17. says

    Compassion gift catalog, huh?! I didn’t know about that and I’ll be looking into it, for sure. It’s burdened me the past few years that Christmas has become all about STUFF, and I want my children to know something better. Thanks for the idea.

  18. says

    I love this too!!! We’ve decided to simplify Christmas A LOT this year because it’s just coming on the heels of a really stressful and crazy season for us. Glad to hear we’re not alone. And how exciting to maek the opportunity just to focus on what the season is supposed to mean. Jesus’ birth can so often get lost in all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday: baking, buying gifts, going to parties. All of these are fun things, but they aren’t the reason for the season. Why do I treat them like they are so often?

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