As  each of us enjoyed our Thanksgiving meals this year, we probably paused  a few times to consider whether we should have one more bite, thinking  to ourselves, “am I full yet?”  If you ignored this question, or kept on  eating in spite of your answer, you no doubt paid a consequence for  it.  Instead of enjoying your Thanksgiving you probably ended up  uncomfortable and tired.
Now we each have another chance to ask the same  question, “am I full yet?”  We will each answer this question numerous  times over the next three and half weeks as we prepare to celebrate  Christmas.  The pressure to overindulge this time of year is  immense.  It is easy to say “yes” to so many internal and external  expectations that we  do not realize the cumulative effect of our  decisions, until we are relieved that Christmas is over.  The paradox is  that all of this fullness leaves us feeling empty, as if all we did was  eat dessert after dessert, somehow missing the main course.
So if trying to be so  full runs the risk of leaving us feeling empty, perhaps we might try a  different approach this year.  We might practice saying “no” to the  expectations that we put on ourselves and allow others to put on us.  In  doing this we say “yes” to our need for quiet, rest and deeper  connections with the people we love most.  In doing this we may discover  the other side of the paradox:  emptying our lives of some things will  help us to feel full.
There is another essential reason to practice letting  go of the pressure of expectations this holiday season.  God has a  way of showing up in our lives in the most surprising and unexpected  ways.  If our lives are overly full, there is no room for such  surprises.
Remember that in the story of Christmas the inn was full the night that Love was born.  Intentionally emptying our lives of  busyness, creates openings for Love to enter our lives and our  relationships anew this year, making room for the main course of the  season.

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