As believers and followers of Christ my husband and I desire for our children to celebrate the real reason for Christmas. But I’ll be honest and say that even for this pastor’s family it’s not always easy to keep the focus on Christ. I believe with all my heart that to keep Jesus the center of Christmas we must be intentional in our planning and fight like crazy for the implementation of that plan. Because the self centered focus of our world is preying on us daily. It sells the lie that if you love your kids you’ll give them everything they want and you can even give them more if you give up your family time on Thanksgiving night to go after all the amazing deals out there. (Yes, I caved and did this once like a madwoman. I even ran in the parking lot. I know, ridiculous.)
|Outdoor Nativity Church Program|
There are other ways we lose Jesus in Christmas and it even comes in the form of good churchy things like a gazillion Christmas plays, performances and programs of the coolest sounding Christmas carols but in the hectic schedules of trying to find the perfect outfit and baking the best made from scratch cookies we lose sight of what the party is all about to begin with. And so again, we must work hard to fight against the culture of our world and sometimes even our churches when we snuff out quiet reflective family time so that we can fit in just one more church activity.
I love that Ann is working up this series because you can go to one place and read some great ideas of how to practically keep Jesus the focus of your Christmas. Some will grab you immediately (like her Mother’s post did for me) and others may not be a great fit for your family for whatever reason. But if we pray and ask God to help us keep Him the focus this season, He will do it. Rest and have confidence in the fact that He wants to be all up in your Christmas-business and so as you ask Him to show you how, trust that He will.
As far as our family goes….this is what we’re doing this year to keep Jesus the center.
1) A Jesse Tree Advent Devotional by Ann Voscamp.
Love this daily devotional. It’s amazing. Please go check it out. We have our little dogwood branch and we do this almost every day. Because we have to fight for this intentionality and because we don’t always win, sometimes we…….I really hate to confess this…. but sometimes we do three in one day. I know, pretty lame but true. Oh well.
2) We created an advent basket for a sweet lady who is caregiving for her aging mother. You can check out more about advent baskets at Molly Piper’s blog.
Basically you wrap a gift for each day of the month in December and you deliver the basket full of presents to a person you commit to pray for during the month. There is more to it but that’s it in a nutshell. Our family did this last year and it was a wonderful experience. This year the kids understood more that we were giving up something (a real Christmas tree) in order to give something special to someone else. They helped pick out and wrap each of the 25 gifts. We secretly delivered to the person and on December 25th the person will open a card wishing them a Merry Christmas and disclosing who we are. Love this project because it keeps us remembering that at Christmas God gave his dearest treasure for others and so for us to give to others is close the heart of God.
I have found some great ideas through Ann’s blog and I want to incorporate them so badly but I am choosing to wait until next year because I know myself. If I get too many things going at once I will not do any of them well or with purpose. It will be more of a checklist of cool ideas to keep Jesus the center instead of truly savoring Him this season. But I’m keeping a file for future ideas.
I pray your family will grow in Christ this season as you intentionally remember and celebrate Him as a newborn babe and Savior to the world we live in.
About Melody: I am married to the most wonderful man in the world. Why he puts up with me, I have NO idea! My husband pastors our amazing church and I am his wife. He lets me be “me” and doesn’t make me bang on the piano, wear long skirts or carry a huge calico covered Bible. I don’t even sit on the front row. Do I sound like a rebel saint? I’m neither, promise! I do love to laugh and play jokes on people. Pink tulips give me the squeal appeal and I love chocolate too much. God is truly my life saver. You think I’m nuts now, but I would be even scarier without Him in my life. True story. You can find me at Life is a Bowl of Wedgies!