A Stress-Free Christmas, Anyone? (Part 1)

It’s that time of the year again and aren’t we glad that last year’s lessons in planning activities for the family and our friends have made us wiser?

Remember when the cake flopped, or some family couldn’t make it, the song number was flat or the cards arrived too late —but YOUR FAMILY HAD A GOOD TIME NONETHELESS?

I guess no Christmas celebration is ever perfect, plan or no plan, but we can be grateful for every thing we can do to celebrate Jesus. Yes, it’s Jesus!

Planning to Have Fun no Matter What!

But I am biased towards having a good plan. I used to go about the season with little to no planning but that won’t work when you have a family of your own. For the sake of sanity I needed these and some questions for self-assessment that go with each:

1. A plan for decorating the house (Will I go overboard or minimalist?)

2. A plan for shopping (Do I have a reasonable budget, a shopping list, logistics, or whether to buy online, etc.?)

3. A plan for blessing (Do I have a plan for gifts-giving, cards-giving, hospitality, etc.?)

4. A plan for engaging (What advent tradition will we start in the family, or whether my husband and I will have Bible studies, discipleship meetings, etc.?)

5. A plan for relaxing (How will I maintain quietness and peace when chaos comes over? What is the plan so we can have fun no matter what?)

And while we are at the helm of the celebrations in our homes, and by God’s grace modeling godly behavior for our children to emulate, let me share some things we can prepare so we don’t get caught up with the peripherals!

FIRST: Prepare Ye The Way

First, prepare the way. And what better way to prepare than to remember and rejoice that a Son was already given! It’s all about Jesus, really.

The rest of the world may celebrate the way they know how and want to but for Christ-followers, we’ll do it differently!

Passing on the heritage of Christmas to our children through meaningful and Bible-rich activities can actually help us relive the beauty of that first Christmas and stand in awe again at the wonderful love of God that gives and gives through Jesus Christ!

And as we remember to prepare the way of Jesus Christ to the hearts of our little ones, I think these coloring pages with verses will come handy. Thank you, Christian Answers! (An uber cool website!)

If you think you want an Advent theme for each day from 1st to the 25th of December, then you can check out Desiring God’s Advent readings. The readings are for free (can you believe that!) for downloading! Check it out here.

The advent readings can be done before dinner, or before you sleep at night. Turn the Christmas lights on while you read with the family, and say a Thank You prayer for salvation from sin and the new life we have in Christ alone.

With a little bit of creativity and a lot of love, may your Christmas tradition be remembered by your children as a beautiful heritage they can be proud of and thankful for.

 

 

SECOND: Prepare Ye The Heart

Yes, the heart. That part that easily gets excited and tired, too. When it’s excited for the right things (like Jesus, the Gospel, and Sacrificial Giving) it will burn light for your family for every season.

But when it’s excited over the wrong things (like materialism, competition, desire to be appreciated) it will get tired easily and this tiredness will also stress the children!

Heart Check 1: At Christmastime, the need to be appreciated and loved is felt the most (those mushy Christmas songs are partly to blame). Wouldn’t it be nice to share about the love of God through Jesus Christ so that the void will be filled with His presence?

Heart Check 2:  And we also know that there are families and friends out there who have not spoken to each other for a while due to misunderstandings. If you know anyone who needs family, friend or forgiveness — will you not be the family, friend and the forgiver? Will you not open your home for them, if they are living alone?

Heart Check 3: I guess the stresses of shopping are nothing compared to the pain and suffering associated with broken relationships. If you happen to be in one, will you open doors for reconciliation? For that’s what Jesus stood for — reconciliation!

Whatever the source of pressure and stress, guess what, there’s hope! I guess first of all we have to situate Christmas in Bethlehem and Calvary so we will know the assurance that we have in EVERYTHING!

 

Takeaway

Before we let the busy-ness come in to overwhelm our hearts, let us remember to ask Jesus to uplift us — the rock that is higher than any rock. We can build in Him our days, and we can look to Him for rest when the pressure hits our home, our stress levels, and our capacity to be joyful.

“When they saw the  star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” – Matthew 2:10

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To be continued… Part 2 Coming Soon (Prepare Ye The Home)

 

 

 

 

 

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