Parent Survival Guide: Keeping “Christ” in Christmas in 3 Steps
By Sylvia Cochran – Christian Parenting –
Christmas has been creeping into the department stores since late August. Advent calendars have jostled for elbowroom with Halloween pumpkins while Santa Claus and the Thanksgiving turkey have been duking it out elsewhere.
You are committed to keeping this year’s Christmas holiday spiritual, but already the busyness of the season is getting to you. Making matters worse are the kids who are home, underfoot and constantly demanding attention. Before you hit the holiday meltdown, why not slow down for a bit and get a grip on Christmas – before it runs away with you (again)?
Understand the “Why” of Christmas When Making a Gift List
Yes, yes, it is a happy birthday to baby Jesus. You know that already. Or do you? A closer look at Nehemiah 8:10-12 shows that what the Israelites were celebrating (way before Christ made an official appearance) was a budding understanding of God’s message. Fast forward to the manger scene, and it becomes clear that the appearance of the Christ is synonymous with receiving a God-given focus and meaning for one’s life.
Tip: Now that the reason for the season is back at the forefront of your mind, focus on making a meaningful Christmas gift list that emphasizes quality and significance over quantity. Involve the children; train them to think through the needs of family members and friends rather than falling for the Siren’s song of commercials and Black Friday deals.
Relive the Awe that the Christ Inspires
Luke 2:13-14 talks about the spectacle caused by the impromptu concert put on by angelic choirs. This jaw-dropping occasion was preceded by the birth of Jesus Christ. Remember the time when you first realized what Christ had done for you. Do you recall what it felt like to respond to the message of the gospel and be baptized? Search earnestly to reconnect with the awe you felt and impress it on your children.
Tip: Just like you were adopted into God’s household and became a sibling to the Christ, center your Christmas celebrations around the family this year. Invite close friends and family members to join you for a meal. Keep it small and intimate. Involve the children in the planning, cleaning and cooking. Go to midnight mass (even if you are not Catholic) and sing the old Christmas songs while holding a candle. Do whatever it takes to reconnect emotionally with the awe that the birth of the savior inspires.
Have Yourself a Merry, LITTLE Christmas
Trim the fat that is heavy on the budget and your nerves. If hosting a sit-down dinner for the entire family is too nerve-racking, make it a buffet or potluck instead. When Mary and Martha invited Jesus over for dinner, Martha was the typical harried hostess. Luke 10:41-42 tells us how Jesus gently rebuked her for stressing out over playing hostess to the Christ; if He did not want to have a fuss made over dinner served to Him, would He approve over your losing perspective of the holiday over a meal served to anyone else?
Tip: Keep it simple this year. If family members wonder why the spread is no longer in the form of a six-course meal, explain that you are ready to pass the baton to them and look forward to having someone else host the annual gathering. Instead, spend time with the kids cooking, baking, making crafts, singing Christmas carols and picking out presents. Do not shoo them into their rooms, telling them to be quiet and generally excluding them from the Christ in Christmas – just to serve a meal to family members you do not see for another 364 days.
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