I’m not sure about where you live, but here in NJ the Christmas decorations were up in Hobby Lobby before Halloween! It seems that every year retailers are getting Christmas out earlier and earlier – pretty soon I think we really can celebrate Christmas in July. Along with the Christmas lights and wreaths and music come the store toy catalogs, and the girls get so excited when they arrive. It doesn’t matter if it’s October 25th, the day the catalogs arrive the girls start making their Christmas lists and counting down to Christmas Day.
I realize that we could simply not let them have the toy catalogs, but I think anticipation can be a good thing, and it certainly teaches them patience! They have a blast making their lists and talking about wrapping and secrets and bows. While all the fluffy stuff is awesome, we don’t want the real reason of Christmas to get lost in the shuffle. We came up with some simple ideas last year and they worked really well, so I can’t wait to start again this year!
Here is how we keep the focus on Christ amid all the craziness that the Christmas season brings:
- We celebrate Advent. Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas, and in our church we light 1 candle each Sunday. We read a Bible verse and a little bit of the Nativity Story while we light our candles at home.
- We choose ornaments from the local Angel Tree and take the girls shopping. During this time when we are picking out a present to bless a child, we talk about how fortunate we are and why it’s important to give away a little of what God has given us. It’s a great life lesson on tithing!
- We choose to be less busy on purpose. I guard our calendar closely and the week before Christmas is left blank on purpose. It’s a time when we have movie nights and do special activities just as a family.
- We work though an advent book called Truth in the Tinsel. This is a great lesson book for all ages, and while we have never gotten all the way through (I’m determined to this year!) I love how simple the lessons are, and my girls LOVE the crafts! What’s In The Bible? offers an Advent book as well – Everyday Emmanuel is a great option for busy families.
- We work hard to bless someone else. We make cookies and deliver them, we’ll buy a small plant and give it to someone, I’ll pay for the person behind me in the express line at the store. It’s a game to see who can come up with the most creative way to bless a stranger.
- We make the Nativity a focal point in our decorating and move the figures closer every day, until we place Baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Day and sing Happy Birthday to Him.
- We have a Happy Birthday Jesus party, complete with a cake – which I think is their favorite part! We celebrate that Jesus came to earth to save us, and our gifts to Him are ways that we have helped someone else.
As Christians we have a choice: are we living IN this world, or are we living OF this world? Our goal as a family is to live OF this world, to focus our time and energy on Christ and to keep our paths following where He leads us. It’s not always easy, and believe me, we have had a few detours along the way but with to His grace and love we find ourselves giving thanks for His most wondrous gift: Jesus Christ.
I’d love to know how YOU keep the focus on Christ during Christmas?
Aurie Good is a pastor’s wife, a homeschool mom to their 2 beautiful miracle babies, and a foster momma to the precious children placed in their home. Currently they are loving on a 16 month old baby boy who they are hoping to adopt from the foster care system. She is an advocate for foster care and enjoys sharing the miraculous journey that led them to become foster parents. When she isn’t knee deep in laundry and diapers she enjoys crafting, knitting and making a huge mess with glitter. You can connect with her on twitter and follow along with their crazy adventures on Instagram. She blogs at Our Good Life about foster care, adoption, DIY crafts and enjoying the messy of motherhood.