December 15, 2017

Christ-Centered Holidays {part 2}

Yesterday we looked at celebrating a Christ-centered Thanksgiving. The same idea of thankfulness carries through to Christmas, as well. But Christmas also offers extra challenges that make life busier and more stressful. And often more secular than we’d like.

And every year, you wish your Christmas was more centered around Jesus, the true Reason for the season. Every year, you think about simplifying or spending less or savoring more.

Right???

It’s okay to celebrate with a tree, and presents, and lights, and get-togethers. But it’s not okay to stress over it all. It’s not okay to neglect your time with God, and time with family, for the sake of getting everything done. {<–tweet that!}

Besides, you never really get it all done anyway… do you? So first, realize that you don’t have to do it all!

You don’t have to accept every invitation you’re given. You don’t have to buy everything your kids want. A month after Christmas, people will have forgotten all about whether you showed up at their over-packed open house and ate their cookies — and your kids will have moved on to some other new toy.

Second, have the right priorities.

 

Your first priority should be a good relationship with God.

That means spending quality time with Him every day. It’s more important than getting the house decorated or the presents bought. It’s more important than getting all the last-minute stuff done.

That means praying as you go.

Pray for wisdom as you head out for a day of Christmas shopping. Pray for kindness and compassion as you meet others for holiday parties. Pray for gratitude as you wrap presents and bake goodies. Pray for others as you write Christmas cards. Pray for an eternal focus even as you sip hot chocolate and relax around the tree with your family.

That means being intentional with celebrations.

Consider putting out your nativity set before getting your tree up and decorated, as a visual reminder {and an object lesson for the kiddos} to keep Christ first. Place it in some central location — maybe as the centerpiece on your table? — and stop for a brief moment whenever you see it. Pause to thank God for His greatest Gift of all. Pause to focus on His love, His sacrifice, His mercy. Pause to recommit your day to Him.

Center your family time around God’s Word. Start each day in December with the appropriate Advent Scripture passage. Read God’s Word before putting on the Christmas music. Spend time as a family, reading His Word and thanking Him for His Son, before putting the Christmas movies on for the evening.

 

Your second priority should be your family.

Every time you say “yes” to an outside activity, you are saying “no” to quality family time. And sometimes that’s okay. You don’t need to be holed up with your family 24/7 (I’m not sure that would be wise, anyway!). But make sure you set aside enough time to be together, peaceful and relaxed (albeit noisy, I’m sure) and simply enjoying each other’s presence.

Be intentional about putting your family before all the trimmings of the season — they’ll last forever; the cookies and presents won’t.

Plan activities around your family time, not the other way around. Consider your families’ needs for quiet and rest and simple fellowship together. Focus on what you can do together. And if you’re not married, spend time with your siblings or cousins or parents, with your church family, or with whoever it is that you call family.

 

And make it a priority to be merry with lessLess stress, less money, less frustration…

There’s plenty of books available with suggestions for homemade gifts, DIY decorations, and frugal get-togethers. Visit your library, ask your friends, search online —

Or enter to win a copy of this brand new ebook, Merry Christmas, Meager Budget, by Sarah Beals (of Joy-Filled Days) and her sister Beth Bergeron!
{click here to tweet about it!

Sarah and Beth have worked hard to deliver some of the best and most creative ideas for cozy decorations, thoughtful gifts, delicious recipes, lasting memories, and more — all without breaking the bank! I happen to know them personally, and they are both incredibly gifted women, who offer these ideas and suggestions from their own personal creativity and experience.

I had the privilege of reading through a preview copy of Merry Christmas, Meager Budget — and I can wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone who celebrates Christmas in any way. It’s not just for those with kids, or those on a budget: these ideas are fun and creative and will give you some great memories and maybe some new traditions too!

And guess what? I get to give away a few copies of Merry Christmas, Meager Budget! Enter via the RaffleCopter form below, to win one of three copies!

And hurry, because this giveaway only lasts until Wednesday at midnight!

{If you’re reading this on email or RSS, you may have to click through to the blog in order to see the entry form.}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments

  1. I love that! Indeed, its not about the one day of the year, but a daily relationship with the Lord.

  2. We need to celebrate Christ everyday. We should work more towards the “Reason for the Season” and not the gifting of the day.

  3. Elizabeth Cowen says:

    I would love to read this book.

  4. Making Christmas cookies is long standing family tradition!

  5. Always appreciate being encouraged to say no to too many things and simplify!

  6. This would be lovely!

    • Oops! Didn’t see the prompt. Our favorite frugal family Christmas activity? Hmmm. This year it is making our own gifts – homemade vanilla and vanilla honey. Also giving hand me down toys to the kids under the tree (they are little). 🙂

  7. We love going to see christmas lights together. Usually put on christmas carols in the van and then go through an area with spectacular christmas lights.

  8. Like Ruth, we love driving around to see Christmas lights together. We’re in a new community this year, and they did Halloween lights up BIG (which was a new thing to us!), so we’re hoping for much loveliness.

  9. I make ‘gift in a jar’ mixes to moms so they have an activity to do with their kids.

  10. My husband and I really want to make sure we have Christ-centered Christmas celebrations in our home, especially as our soon-to-be-three-year-old gets older. We enjoy lighting Advent candles and reading Scripture, and attending church on Christmas Eve is always a must. Driving around to see Christmas lights and baking cookies are also a lot of fun.

  11. I love these posts, friend.

  12. Would love to win!

Trackbacks

  1. […] YOU, Readers! Elizabeth Johnson | November 16, 2012 | No comments Note: the winners of the Merry Christmas, Meager Budget giveaway were Elizabeth C, Anne-Marie, and Gina. They have been notified already {check your email, ladies!} […]

  2. […] of great gift giving ideas for under ten dollars, home decor and free family fun ideas.” DogFur and Dandelions: “I had the privilege of reading through a preview copy of Merry Christmas, Meager […]

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