1. You shall pray regularly and consistently for your children, other families members living in your house, and the guests you will welcome over the holidays.
It is normal to get busy during the holidays. There is food to be cooked, there are gifts to be wrapped, and if you are traveling, there are plenty of arrangements to be made. Sadly, during these busy days we forget to frequently what the holidays are really about: family. Praying for your children, family members, and guests is certain to keep them close to your heart and further away from your nerves.
2. You shall not face your children spiritually unprepared, dodge their questions, or minimize their problems.
It is tempting to get up at the crack of dawn to get a running start on shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and preparing; yet when your young ones get up, have you had your time with God and are facing them spiritually prepared for patience, love, and joy? Or are you harried, frustrated, and angry at your slow Internet connection? Moreover, keep in mind that you are not the only one with problems during busy holidays. Your children, who might be a bit squeamish about seeing their annoying cousins again, also might have some problems that - to them - are quite real.
3. You shall not label your children, other children's parents, or fellow family members as "unspiritual", "hopeless", or worse.
Gossiping about guests, friends, and family members is oh so tempting. Refrain from it. Do not say anything derogatory - even if you think it - and discourage others to do so as well in front of your children. If you must sin and gossip, go for it; just don't drag your children into this kind of bad behavior.
4. You shall recognize your teaching commitment as a God-given opportunity.
As if you needed another thing on your list this holiday season, it is true that God does not give parents time off. You are just as called upon to teach your children to become spiritual adults as you are during the non-holiday season.
5. You shall plan your tasks and prepare for them in advance, so that it will go well with your household.
Do not set up your family for failure. Last minute changes are hard on a person, much less a whole family. Avoid frustrations brought on by unpredictable changes and instead sit down together and plan holiday activities. Remember: it is okay not to do everything.
6. Do not undo what you say by what you do.
Your kids know not to cuss, cheat, and lie. What do they see you do this holiday season? Do they see you swear at the guy who cut you off in the mall parking lot, cheat by buying some gift rather than paying the light bill, or lie when your spouse asks you about your spending?
7. You shall arrive at church early and greet other disciples.
Church is still an activity that should feature front and center in a Christian parent's life, even during the busy holiday season. Do not try to make a mad dash for the mall for that last minute gift; instead, give yourself plenty of time to arrive early at the meetings of the body and enjoy the fellowship.
8. Do not to be discouraged because you see no change in the spirituality of the rest of your family. Jesus called you to make disciples; He didn't specify a time limit.
Your most valiant efforts may go unnoticed as other family members resemble headless chickens. Do not fret or become discouraged! Instead, remember that you were called to make disciples but were not given a deadline.
9. Remember that the children will judge the Church by your actions -- or lack thereof.
Grousing about the lousy parking situation, complaining about the sound system that is on the fritz again, rolling your eyes at the last minute Christmas get-together that just had to be scheduled this week, and arguing about not having enough time to cook a holiday dinner, prepare for church, have a quiet time with God, and attend church all leave impressions on your children. They will come to see the church as a burden, discipleship as an optional activity, and complaining as an acceptable lifestyle.
10. Have fun!
It is okay to have fun during the holidays. Actually, this is what the holidays are all about! Stay spiritual, stay close to your kids, and you cannot help but have fun.
About Sylvia Cochran
Sylvia Cochran - Christian Parenting Corner and Common Sense Parenting and Parenting By the Book Christian Parenting Book Reviews
Sylvia is a seasoned freelance writer, born and raised in Germany. Having been exposed to a variety of religions and traditions due to travel and study, Sylvia has been a student of the Bible for more than ten years, and has for the last four years taught in small groups about Biblical principles, practical Christianity, Christian parenting, as well as the spiritual use of money. Sylvia also provides Free Online Christian Parenting Courses at Suite 101.
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