Only 13 days till Christmas! Two weeks from today! I’ll be at my Mom’s house thanking God for another year for my kids to be with their MeMaw!
This Christmas is more emotional for me than most. It’s our last time together as a family before my oldest leaves the nest…. honestly, I don’t like it. Our family “to-do” list is growing faster than I can get anything crossed off! Peace? In the next 13 days? Really?
Every year, usually at Thanksgiving, my family optimistically plans on this being the year that we enjoy the holidays and stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Then Black Friday and Cyber Monday strike and we are off to the races and next thing we know it is the end of December and it was all a blur. The good news is you still have 13 days left to salvage this season. So, here is a list (‘tis the season for lists), of five ways to turn your good intentions into reality and keep Christ in Christmas.
5. Plan on doing less. If you don’t get everything done you would like to do for it to be a ‘perfect’ Christmas – let that be ok. Focus on family, friends and celebrate what you do get done. A lot of time and energy goes into acquiring and wrapping gifts. It is so easy to get caught up in want vs. needs during this season and go over board on gift giving. Sometimes, less is more. And really Christmas is more about giving than getting!
4. Keep or create a meaningful tradition. If you have a family tradition that you enjoy each year – make sure you continue to do it. If you don’t have a tradition – start this year. It can be as simple as a countdown to Jesus’ birthday. Kids can tell you exactly how many days it is until their birthday – it is part of the eager anticipation of celebrating their day. Let’s do that with the birth of Christ. Just an everyday reminder of what Christmas day celebrates. Our Student ministry has a birthday party for Jesus. Complete with birthday cake and singing. – I think they are on to something!
If your tradition is to read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning – start now and choose one character in the narrative and truly focus on them for that day. Think about how they felt, what they experienced, how old they were, what they looked like – just your imagination and immerse yourself in the story like you would in a movie or a great book. Just think, you can be a shepherd, a Wiseman, Joseph, Mary, an angel…….oh the possibilities! Don’t just read the story – be a part of the story. (Luke 2, Matthew 1:18-2:23)
3. Be aware of others. We live in a selfie generation that doesn’t always practice common courtesy. Look for ways to bless others. Be patient when you have to wait in a line to check out – smile at the person who is employed where you are shopping. Say please and thank you! Practice a random act of kindness. Pay for a meal for a car behind you in the drive thru. Be mindful that Christmas turns up the volume on whatever you are feeling. Seek out the people in your traffic pattern who are lonely or have loved ones fighting cancer or other illness, those searching for employment, those grieving the loss of a loved one – you get the point. If you are struggling physically or emotionally, Christmas just magnifies that even more. Send a note, make a phone call – practice kindness.
2. Share the meaning of Christmas with others. Don’t just keep it to yourself. Share why and what you celebrate! People are more open and receptive at Christmas time. Look for ways and opportunities to share the peace of Christ to those experiencing the emptiness that the chaos of Christmas can bring. “…a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”
1. Keep Christ the center of your Christmas. I’m singing to myself a song by Israel Houghton “Jesus as the Center.” I challenge you to make Jesus the center of it all! May He be the first part of your day, the first day of your week and the first dime of your every dollar. This Christmas give your best gift to Jesus! I’m praying for you today… and how you will lead those in your circle of influence for Jesus to be the center of it all this season and throughout the year.
Take the challenge and let's keep Christ in Christmas!