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I am a huge fan of Christmas!
I love the feeling in the air, the decorations, the lights, the glitter, the way stores are decorated (in December… NOT September), and giving to my family.
But how many years did I go into the Christmas season with gusto and grand ideas only to burn myself out mid-December? Pretty much every year.
Each year I go into the Christmas season with the idea that this is going to be the best Christmas ever!
I figure out how many fun Christmas related activities we can fit into our schedule, and I cram all of our days and weekends with something to do.
My kids end up tired.
I end up frustrated that no one appreciates the effort I put into making this the best Christmas ever.
And then we are ready for Christmas to be over and done with and to move into the New Year.
But not this year…
I have always been a fan of simple living, of not making things more complicated than necessary, of believing that less is more. But Christmastime has never reflected that.
This year, we don’t have to see every Christmas pageant in our county.
This year, we don’t have to attend every Christmas party or activity.
This year, we don’t have to plan to do something Christmas related every night.
This year, we don’t have to have an advent calendar that involves a ton of extra gifts for me to purchase, wrap, and remember to distribute each day.
This year, we’ll stay home more evenings than we go out and watch the old Christmas cartoons I grew up watching like Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and the Little Drummer Boy. And because I homeschool my kids, we can stay up as late as we want to watch these shows and sleep as long as we need to the next morning.
This year we will delight in the simple joy of finding our little monkey pal, Melk, in the mornings and learn something about the character of God.
This year, we will limit the parties we go to, and, if bringing an exchange gift is necessary, we’ll bring something simple but sweet.
This year, if there isn’t a Christmas moment on the calendar, we won’t make one up just for the sake of it. We’ll just carry on as usual.
This year, we will make paper chains and countdown to Christmas the old fashioned way.
Satan’s mission has always been to destroy what God has created- to interfere with the message that God loved us and sent his Son (Awana Cubbies key verse). How are we supposed to stop and reflect on the purpose of Christmas Day if, during the time of the year that we are supposed to remember and recognize the giving of God’s gift to us, we get so busy and distracted and we keep our kids running from one activity to another?
This year, rather than focusing on the “show” of Christmas, I want to focus on the message. That God loved His creation and gave us a gift, the most precious gift He could give- His Son.
Trendy wrapping paper with a perfect bow was not the wrapping of this gift. Strips of cloth were the wrappings of this gift.
His surroundings were not Pinterest worthy. A barn with hay and animals was the setting for His birth.
Those who came to see him that night did not come with $5 gifts for a gift exchange. They came with empty hands, but sincere hearts.
I want our Christmas to reflect those ideals.
So here is your Christmas challenge…
Before you are swept up in the tinsel and show of Christmas…
Before you are knee deep in the quicksand of activities and parties…
Before you find yourself drowning in receipts and wrapping paper…
Take an hour one evening to think through what you want your Christmas to look like.
Figure out your non-negotiable calendar items.
Next, determine in advance how many activities you will be a part of.
Decide how many $5 dollar exchange gifts your budget will allow for.
For your sanity to be kept in tact, set in stone how many evenings you need to stay home each week.
Establish your gift giving list early and stick to it.
And then, sit back and enjoy this Christmas with your family and closest friends.