Christmas is only a few weeks away. By now many of us are feeling the pressure of getting everything done, and probably aren’t enjoying the Christmas season as much as we would like to. But what if we did things differently this year? What if instead of filling every moment with all the tasks that come along with Christmas we chose to immerse ourselves into the story of the celebration of the King’s birth instead of all of the holiday traditions. We put so many demands upon ourselves to make the holiday special for everyone, but often deplete ourselves and rob Jesus of the time He deserves.
The best thing we can do to enjoy and embrace this Christmas season is to simplify. I know what you are thinking, but you can do it! Not everything has to be perfect in order to celebrate the King’s birth. It was far from perfect the night Jesus was born. After all, Jesus was born in a stable with stinky animals, no clean water, no doctors, or crib. However, the circumstances of His birth doesn’t take away from the beautiful celebration that the Messiah was born.
Maybe, this year instead of filling the calendar, you choose three special things to do as a family to keep the celebration of the Savior’s heart alive and well within all your hearts. I don’t think someone will berate you if you don’t make twelve different kinds of cookies or decide not to send the yearly Christmas card or choose not to participate in every holiday party.
Don’t Get Caught in the Trap
Our mental and spiritual health is important and when we are physically exhausted by trying to keep up with the world’s standard of Christmas, we lose the significance of our Savior’s birth. Don’t get caught in the web of deceit, the world is trying to draw you into the fact that if everything isn’t perfect for you and your family it will be a terrible Christmas. Not only do we lose the importance of Christ’s birth we cheapen the Christmas story by putting other things above Him.
All the Single People….All the Single People
Also, if you are single, it is okay to say “No” and don’t feel pressured by others to participate in every activity. I’m sorry for all the people who think single people must be bored to death. Single people can benefit from simplicity too! It isn’t about the presents, the food, or the baking, Christmas is about His presence.
Challenge Your Family
What are some changes you can make for your family to make Christmas more enjoyable and less stressful for everyone? Gather your family and make a list of three things you would like to do together to celebrate Christmas. The rising costs of food, gas and housing have put a crimp in many Christmas budgets. It is okay to do things differently. Different can be better!
Maybe, instead of going to the theater, you make a Christmas movie night at home with popcorn and hot cocoa. If you enjoy baking, then bake some cookies together but make three kinds instead of six kinds. The important thing is to make sacred space to allow you and your family the ability to embrace and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Grandparents love homemade gifts. Let the kids do a craft and let them give it to their grandparents. It can be as simple as making them a Christmas card.
This One is for the Young Moms
For all you young moms, I have been where you are at, and I wish someone had given me permission or encouraged me to do what is best for me and my family rather than making me feel less than if I couldn’t keep up. I remember those feelings of guilt. Remember there is an accuser and the last thing the enemy wants is for Christ to be exalted. The memories you make together by enjoying this season are far better than the ones you remember because you were exhausted and miserable.
An Adventful Advent
The best way to set your heart and mind for this Christmas season is to begin with Advent. Our very own Heather Hart has a great book called. “Christmas is Coming.” It is a great devotional with wisdom, grace and love. It is a reminder to keep the important things important.
Another idea is an Advent Calendar! It is a great way to tell the Christmas story to children young and old with a little surprise. These calendars don’t have to be expensive you can even make your own homemade one if you prefer. The point is to make time and celebrate the birth of Christ without making yourself go crazy in the process.
Reading the Christmas story found in Luke 2 and setting up a nativity is a good visual reminder of what that night meant to them and now over two thousand years ago. As a family talk about what it must have been like for them as they traveled to Bethlehem and how afraid the shepherds must have been to see all the angels or how long it really took the wisemen to get to see baby Jesus.
Christ Serves Us so Let Us Serve Others
As Christ came to earth to serve us, Christmas is a great time to serve others. Many times, there are places looking for volunteers to help and cheer those who need a simple smile, hug or kind word. One of the opportunities I took advantage of when my daughter was young was to ring the bell for Salvation Army. She loved ringing that bell, and people loved to give to kids. It was a great family experience teaching her the importance of giving back.
Presence Over Presents
The best thing we can teach our children and remind ourselves is that it is “presence over presents” Toys will break in a day and the kids and adults alike probably won’t even remember what was under the tree from the year before, but what they will remember is how you celebrated Christmas. Think about your own experience. You may remember a few things, but your memories of how your family celebrated Christmas and who you celebrated with have a lot more impact than the presents themselves.
This isn’t a traditional Christmas scripture, but it is a reminder that our peace was important to Jesus.
His bequest was given to his disciples in these simple yet profound words: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.)
This Christmas give you and your family the gift of His peace and presence. May you feel His love in extraordinary ways you have never known not by how much you do, but remembering how much He has done for you! May the simplicity and beauty of the birth of our Savior fill you with His peace and presence like never before. My prayer is that you bask in His glory and allow your light to shine so the world may know and see the peace within your heart comes from His presence.
Christmas is Coming
Do you ever feel like the holiday season flies by way to fast? Heather does. For several years Heather woke up on Christmas Eve and didn’t even feel like she was mentally ready for Thanksgiving yet. The holiday season had come and gone, and left her feeling like she was grasping at straws. Well, this Christmas Heather is ready to make a change. Christmas is coming and she wants her heart to be ready. Join her in this devotional as she builds anticipation for the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior and refocus your heart on Jesus this Christmas.