What is the point of Christmas? I mean, what’s the real meaning behind it? How should I be celebrating, what should I be doing to really get the full Christmas effect? And how do I answer all those questions as a follower of Jesus?
I was pondering that whole enchilada a few years ago. I felt like I was missing Christmas. I was doing all the things I was supposed to do and it left me feeling empty and crazy from the trying. It was like I was in the lazy river at the Steinbach Aquatic Centre and I had lifted up my feet and was just floating along with the flow. I was just doing what everyone else was doing and spinning around in circles. I feel like it’s time to put my feet down. To stop doing everything the culture tells me do in order to feel Christmas-y. To start walking against the flow even, to push back. To focus on the end goal of my race again, which is loving God and loving others. And maybe if we all do that, we all walk against the flow, we can even change the direction the water is flowing!
Here are a few stories of some women who attempted to do just that last Christmas.
My husband and I often talk about how last Christmas was by far the best December we’ve ever had together. Our daughter was finally at the age where she understood the season, and there was a whole new delight in watching her experience everything with giddy-wonder. What stuck with me after the Christmas Quieting session last year at Selah was the need to pro-actively take on the month. So, that’s what we did. My husband and I sat down with a calendar and talked through everything: our important traditions, gatherings, expenses, extra grocery money, our Bible study plans, accountability for overwhelm and exhaustion etc. The month was planned, right down to our intentions to regularly connect with Jesus. We believe this is largely why the month was so enjoyable. Taking the time in advance to plan allowed us to let go of the reins and just be present with our family! – Jerrah Lee
Last Christmas season I made a point of being intentional. I had a million things I wanted to do and only so many weeks to do them in! So, I sat down and started to make a, “Christmas To Do List”. On my chart were the following categories: Christmas Baking, Christmas Shopping, Crafts to Make, Devotional Plan for December, Family Activities (not gatherings), House Chores, People to Invite Over and Family Gatherings/Parties. It was quite the list and I was feeling pretty good about everything I was going to accomplish!
Then on the bottom of my paper, I asked myself: What is going to make a lasting impression with my family this year? How will I honor God this Christmas?
These questions made me stop. I stopped filling in all the boxes of my “To Do List” and I focused on two boxes: Devotional Plan for December and Family Activities. These two boxes were going to be different, they were going to make a lasting impression and be honoring to our Creator.
My focus shifted to Psalm 46:10 “BE STILL and know that I AM GOD.” I didn’t want to be preparing for Jesus’ birthday, have the party and in the end realize I had forgotten to invite Jesus to His own celebration. So, my devotions in December centered on being still with God and I really tried to treasure and ponder the Christmas season in my heart. (Luke 2: 18-19) Snow became my analogy. Snowflakes became a beautiful reminder to me of God’s unmatched power, His finite delicateness and beauty, His purity, and ultimately His design for me.
And for family activities we planned a few things that were fun, but that also brought us back to Jesus. Things like singing Christmas carols around the piano, going to Bethlehem Live, creating our Advent calendar, and reading different Christmas stories etc.
I may not have completed my original, “Christmas To Do List”, but in the end that really did not matter. Honoring God and pondering His Truths made for an awesome Christmas. – Karla
Last Christmas was very different from other Christmas’. Though it still had its fair share of busyness, I went into it with a different appreciation for the season and longing for something other then crazy. I wanted the real, true Prince of Peace to dwell in our home through out the season. So this time I made a priority list because there are so many great things that “other” families do, and I want to do all of those things too, but there just isn’t the time to do it all! To kick off the season I spent time in prayer and narrowed down what wasn’t necessary. Things like “the Santa Clause parade” got axed for going to the live nativity instead. Then we simplified even more- my son got a really bad case of croup and laryngitis and double bronchitis all at once. 10 days before Christmas! Everything that week got dropped and what could have made life feel crazier (with 4 of those days equating to multiple emergency visits per day for steroids to open his lungs) only made life simpler! In that week I began reflecting of what the Lord had saved us from: other life threatening illnesses, accidents, business highs and lows. My heart overflowed with gratitude for what this little babe that came to earth thousands of years ago had saved us from! And on Christmas Day we started off our morning with… not gifts… but devo’s- celebrating the birth of Jesus and what that meant for the world. We began with quieting and joy exercises. Other years I have found myself trying to prioritize my own plans. Last year was different because I made time with the birthday boy, planning His celebration party, asking Him what He wanted to do, and celebrating Him. Don’t get me wrong, we still did the usual gatherings, and stole away for a few days of family time. But my heart was full- and in the words of Lysa TerKeurst “I underwhelmed my schedule so I could overwhelm my soul”. I do look back and feel that the Prince of Peace dwelled in us just as I had hoped but I had to be intentional and willing to turn away all of the expectations for the best things that deserved my time!! – Jes
How about you? Do you worship Jesus more deeply at this time of the year? It’s not just about going to church or singing songs. We worship Jesus when we do anything that shows Him we love Him and we love what He loves, which is people. What can you do this Christmas that shows others and your kids that you love Jesus?
Use it or lose it:
Spend some time with Jesus and ask Him to show you what loving Him and loving others looks like this December.
-Is there anything you should take off your calendar?
-Is there anything you should add? Someone to love on this December?