December days can whip up a massive case of the busys.
Parties to attend, people to see, gifts to buy, cards to send, cookies to bake… Festive can easily turn into frantic. We want to keep Christ the center of Christmas, but it can be hard to keep faith fresh at Christmas. Distracted and busy, it’s all too easy to loose sight of the reason we celebrate Christmas. We look for simple ways to keep faith fresh at Christmas.
Somewhere in the muddle of all the need-to-do’s, have-to-do’s, and want-to-do’s, we find ourselves feeling disconnected and distant from the very Savior we celebrate.
Every year, we say, “This year will be different,” thinking greater organization will create more time to relish the wonder of an infinite God entering our world as an infant. However, as much as we love all of the festivity Christmas brings, we need more than plan to stay focused on Christ and keep the chaos under control. We need a change of heart.
Together, let’s ask God to refresh our hearts. Let’s commit keep our attention on the holy, rather than squeeze devotion into any left over moments. Time doesn’t come in leftovers, particularly this time of year. Finding balance begins with setting priorities and evaluating expectations.
1. Invite God
What if we all begin each day with an invitation, even before we’re out of bed? “Father, I invite you into this day. Keep my heart grounded and my steps in line with you today. In all the things I do today, help me to follow your leadership.”
During busy December days, it’s tempting to forgo time spent with God. December can be a good time to change your devotional routine, inviting something fresh. Try one of these quick ideas to keep your time with God focused and fresh this Christmas.
- Try a One Thing Journal. Read a passage and write down one thing to reflect on. Short can be deep if we reflect on that one thing through out the day.
- Read Psalms and focus on worshipping Christ as you read. Look for ways to praise and rejoice.
- Give the gift of prayer. Read a short passage of Scripture and pray one of the verses for one person each day.
2. Let go of perfectionism.
As women, we often approach Christmas with a high level of responsibility, feeling like it is all on us to create the perfect holiday for our families. Please tell me I’m not the only one who has felt this…
When our children were small, I remember staying up late and feeling the push to do it all. Decorating, baking, gift-making, wrapping, activities, service projects, devotions, crafts….
You name it, we did it. We have many wonderful memories and I don’t regret all of that. I’m just acknowledging perfectionism, that desire to create picture-perfect moments the pressure of our own expectations to make sure Christmas is a special time for everyone. This is a time of year when good can distract us from best.
- Take time to prayerfully plan for what is most important for your family this Christmas. Schedule the most important things so you make time for them.
- Invite God into your planning, seeking His wisdom for a pace that will work for you and your family this year.
- Examine your expectations of what Christmas should be like, and be willing to let go of that “perfect holiday” mindset.
3. Don’t do it all yourself.
Involve your family in planning and preparing for activities, meals, and celebrations. Establish a “work together” tradition. Time spent together in preparations can provide some great moments. Whenever my kids help me cook, we have good conversations. There’s something about working side-by-side that can get kids talking.
Your kids can add a different twist and new ideas to your Christmas preparations. Our family usually sends a family picture with our Christmas card. Some years, taking that family Christmas card photo involved a lot of stress and strife of wiggly kids and unwilling teens.
- After taking the “pretty” Christmas card picture, the one where everyone is smiling and looking at the camera, we let the kids loose for fun pictures. The results create some hilarious moments.
- Draw family names for mystery gifts of service each week in December. Try to guess who had your name.
- Designate a daily “helper elf” to help you do some of the extra tasks at Christmas. Let the helper elf have a special privilege makes it fun. You can even get an elf hat at a party supply store to make it extra fun for younger kids.
Staying focused on Christ and keeping a sane schedule keeps faith fresh. There are many ways to celebrate Christmas that add meaning and worship to your holiday. Inviting God into each day, letting go of perfectionism, and sharing responsibilities are three simple concepts to add faith and vitality to your Christmas this year.