Is a Simple Christmas a More Godly Christmas?

Is a simple christmas a more godly christmas

This post is for the woman whose plate is really really full.

Every where I look (including my own archives lol!) I see people saying to “simplify” your  life.  I feel like it’s the Christian Christmas buzzword.  We have full calendars, full laundry baskets, full bellies, full toy boxes, and full closets.  Goodness – the storage units down the road are overflowing and new ones seem to be popping up everywhere!

People’s lives are fuller than they’ve ever been and we just keep on adding more – grasping for the elusive happiness we hope the next thing will bring us.

And so the backlash is to call a time-out and remind everyone to stop it and simplify.

And I get it because it’s what I need to do all year long. I need to learn to say more “no’s” to people, stuff and food!

But here is what is not helpful, telling a busy woman to simplify her life – equating it to a higher standard of holiness or godliness. Because the reality is…

Many women are busy doing things that are non-negotiables.  

Not all of us are able to carve up our calendars as we please.   Many of you are in a season of life that demands a lot, whether it’s working outside the home to make ends meet, caring for an ailing family member that has no one else but you, or taking care of a special needs child.  Some seasons of life demand around the clock vigilance and telling a woman like this to “slow down” only heaps needless stress and guilt.  And I know if she could escape for a long vacation of sleep and Bible reading – she’d take that opportunity in a second. But there’s no escape for some situations.

Here’s the thing…

In some cases (not all – hear me on this)… simple = selfish.

There is a danger in simplifying to the point that we don’t reach out to the hurting and the lost because it takes precious time and makes life feel full and overwhelming!

Serving is not simple.

Serving is a sacrifice.

And the baby born in a manger – was the ultimate sacrifice.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Mark 10:45)

Simple does not always equal Godly.

So this is for the woman – whose plate is really really full.  God is not looking at our calendars — but at our hearts.

Is your calendar full from striving, serving or sacrifice?

If it’s from striving – stop.  You are grasping for all the wrong things and come December 26th, you will feel an empty hole in your heart from misplaced priorities.  The message of simplify is for YOU!

But if it’s from serving and sacrifice – may God bless you.

Walk with the King,



  1. Thank you Courtney. This is just what I needed. I kept trying to find something to “cut out” and realized I had trimmed as much as I could…. and to read this confirms that the to-do list I have is the right list. 🙂 Thanks friend!

    1. 🙁 sweet Mandy. Oh the Christmases they are celebrating now. No to-do lists at all. Just celebrations with Jesus. So many things have happened since this original blog post I loved this blog. Courtney. Sometimes or some of us can and need to simplify our to-do lists and sometimes and some of us are doing just what we need/have to be doing. Prayers and blessings for you and prayers for all of the family of the Kelly Family throughout the holiday season.

  2. This. Just this makes it so much easier to prioritize what I can let go of and what must remain for I am deeply in that season of vigilance. Thank you

  3. I like this. I wrote a post on simplify – but more from the position of: “don’t keep adding to your own debt and insanity by buying your kids 6 gifts AND stuffed stockings,” don’t think you have to have your house perfectly decorated to have Christmas, etc.
    I also think serving should be a priority. Whether we have time or not. 🙂

  4. I sacrifice time with my family on holidays so I can work to support them as my husband just started yet another lay-off. I’m a nurse, well,aware that I knew I’d be giving up Christmases etc with my family. But it doesn’t make it any easier. Nor am I compensated by being paid time and a half or double time as some hospitals across the country pay their staff on holidays. So if any of you have the misfortune to have a loved one hospitalized this holiday season, there will be someone to take care of them& serve them. We do it because we love it.

    I don’t go into debt at Christmas. If the money’s not in my bank acct. it doesn’t get bought. So far, I’ve covered the something he needs, something to wear. & something to read. Now for the Something he wants. All video game related.

  5. Oh My Goodness! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. After hosting 36 family and friends for the Thanksgiving weekend, life has not stopped. I drive a car-less friend who has a child with chronic health issues to get prescriptions filled. I gathered materials and made wreathes with the women at the homeless shelter. I’m organizing the gift bags for these women. Traveling 8hours round trip to bring home my son from college. My to-do list goes on and on. I’ve been told that it’s all my fault because I’ve chosen to do all of these things. But to have my family gather together? Priceless. Providing women at the homeless shelter with an evening of fun and smiles? Priceless. What would I be doing otherwise? Shopping for myself? Decorating for myself? This season is not about me. It’s about sharing Gods love with others. Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been trying to explain.

  6. Hi Courtney,
    Beautiful post but what I personally struggle with is knowing when to say “no” to MORE service and sacrifice. The way I see it, my family is blessed with a good income and I am a stay st home mom so I “should” make time to serve my church and those in need because we have the finances and the time. The difficult part is knowing when to stop saying yes. There HAS to be balance. Like you mention in your book, my own family is my primary ministry. I have a friend whose family and home is suffering so much because she is constantly saying yes to the most outrageous things. She takes on so much, meaning full well to serve others, but the toll it’s taking on her family is sad.
    I think the key is balance and knowing that our families should take top priority.

  7. Great post!

    We’re visiting the elderly this Christmas – baking them cookies. Really touches them, and puts a smile on their face : ) It’s a service of sacrificial love! I know of other churches that do this too.

  8. Courtney: I just blogged last night about a devotion I shared at the moms group at my church. I was inspired completely by your book and told all the ladies to read it! haha! It’s called “No room for selfishness at the inn this Christmas” and I quoted your book about 4 or 5 times throughout. Here is the link if you wanted to read it. Love this post today about being selfish – I fully agree w/ya! You say things so well and to point!
    Merry Christmas!

  9. I think this is a great post about how we should not cut back on serving, but it seems like you missed the point people try to make when they say we should simplify Christmas. Americans spend billions of dollars on Christmas every year. When someone tells you to simplify your Christmas they don’t mean cut back on toy and food drives. They don’t mean cut back on serving at homeless shelters. They mean don’t spend so much money on presents and parties and decorations. Christ was a poor man who spent his ministry helping the poor and the sick. But we spend one of the holidays devoted to him focusing on ourselves and not those who are suffering. Don’t cut back on serving others, instead consider using the money you normally spend on Christmas clothing and feeding the many people in this world who need help.

    1. Getting back to the true meaning- Christ’s birth- simply put is what it is all about. Anything more is selfish. Period.
      Serving is done everyday- loving the poor and fatherless is done everyday.
      December 25th is reserved to remember Christ’s birthday.
      Selfish- living up to OUR expectations, making “OUR” homes perfect, buying gifts out of obligation, serving for “OUR” selfishness- doing out of obligation. Why use Christmas to do what should be done everyday?

  10. I loved this post. And from what I’ve noticed, when people “simplify” they cut out the acts of service part of their lives… hmmm… to me that is not an “extra” that can be put on the chopping block… it is a command and so must be a priority. Good thoughts to ponder.

  11. Hi Courtney,
    I signed up for your newsletter with a few different emails that I have, even my business one, because I really need and wish to read the proverbs 31 guide book that comes with the subscribtion, but I cant seem to find it at any email that I have subscribed to. Can you please send it to me? I would really love to read it! god bless you!

  12. So true!! I have many friends and family who say to me, you need to take a break! True, breaks keep us refreshed..but as a foster mom of three under five, homeschool mom of two..breaks are hard to come by. It’s about serving and sacrifice. Ministry doesn’t stop for anything. It’s 24/7 and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I just keep asking Jesus for strength and the patience I need to serve one day at a time. Thanks for the reminder that I’m not striving today, I’m serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!

  13. I work from home & homeschool my pre-k and toddler sons. My husband works out of the home full time & works every other Saturday also. I don’t have on hand babysitters nor the money to pay them. We live small but still have debt. We’ve served in church in the past because we felt we needed to, it didn’t work for us in our season for young kids. Sooo we’ve had to step back & focus on our family first. I have guilt that we don’t do enough. I mean, I barely get out of the house, let alone am able to know others needs. I don’t even have time do any hobbies of my own at this point in my life. So reading this actually discourages me a little. Like living simple is wrong & I should be doing more. Sorry to vent, it’s just something that I personally struggle with.

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