Christmas is just over a month away and perhaps you’re not prepared. There are gifts to buy, menus to plan, parties to attend and you don’t know where to begin. You may feel overwhelmed and just a little bit grumpy about it all whenever you think about it.
Take a breath.
Now, take a moment to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas.
The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. For there is born to you today, in David’s city, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Christmas is not about all we do to celebrate, it’s about the One we celebrate.
You do not have to spend all your money on gifts. You do not have to send the perfect card to everyone on your list. You do not have to make your home look magazine worthy. You do not have to create a meal that rivals the greatest chefs. You do not have to do time consuming crafts and activities to have a meaningful time of Advent with your family.
You do not have to prove your worth to the world by how well you do Christmas.
Let Jesus be the filter for every decision you make about how you want to celebrate Christmas and just do those things.
Take a few moments to reflect on what your Christmas will look like.
Grab a calendar and mark any days you or your family members may have off work or school around Christmas. Fill in any parties, concerts, or events that you plan on attending. Remember, you don’t have to do it all.
Think about your menu. Remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Create a simple menu plan, maybe it includes some family favorites. If you’ll be hosting a large family gathering, consider making it potluck.
Write out your gift list. Remember to look at your budget. Consider your relationship with the recipient. Focus on meaningful gifts over expensive ones. Consider the possibility of a family gift over individual gifts.
Sending cards? Don’t stress about the perfect photo. Make a photo collage from some of your favorite moments from the year or skip the photo card and buy premade cards. You could even send e-cards. It will be okay. I promise.
Plan your décor. Think about the items you love. Don’t feel that you have to create a magazine cover-ready home. Decorate with items that bring a smile to your heart when you put them out. And just keep it to that.
Take time to focus on Jesus. An Advent devotional is a wonderful way to spend some family time each day focusing on why we celebrate Christmas. There are some excellent Advent resources out there and many of them include fun crafts and activities you can do with your kids. And while I think those activities are great, if they are only going to add stress to your Christmas celebration then don’t do them. Taking the time to read an Advent devotional each day is enough. And get this, if you miss a day because of a crazy schedule or because you are so tired you can’t hold your eyes open one second longer it’s okay. Pray with your children as you tuck them in and get some rest. You can pick right back up the next day.
Find a way to serve others. Sharing Christ’s love for the world is one of the best ways to focus on Him this Christmas. Spend some time thinking about how you and your family can serve others. You could buy gifts or provide a meal for a family in need, mail cards to our soldiers serving overseas, spend an afternoon singing carols and visiting residents at a nursing home, or bake some cookies to share with your neighbors. You don’t have to do it all but find something you can do.
Remember and repeat as often as necessary, “You don’t have to do it all.”
Traditions are wonderful but we can strip away the excess and dig right down to what it’s all about.
We’ve been given good news of great joy! We’ve been given Christ! Let’s celebrate that this Christmas.