The Christmas season is a very special one. No matter your background or belief system, most people enjoy the twinkling lights, special songs, yummy foods, time spent with family and friends, and of course, presents. There are so many extra fun events, school activities, and holiday parties to attend, and it seems as though the month of December is over before we know. Maybe after it’s all over you look back and think, “What did we really do?,’ or ‘ Where’d the time go?’ People always talk about making room for the important things, like time spent with family and friends, or serving those who may need a little extra help, but how often do we put those good intentions into action? Here are a few practical ways to stay focused on the true reason for the season.
1. BE PRESENT
When your child is performing in the Christmas concert, opening gifts on Christmas morning, or enjoying hot chocolate and a movie at home, make sure to be mentally present and enjoying the moment. It’s tempting to be stuck behind a camera to capture the moment or to let your mind run over your to-do list, but you will regret not giving each moment the time it deserves. Snap a few pictures, then put the camera away and be present for the remainder of the event. Or set the video camera up on a tripod, press record, and ignore it until a later time. Don’t miss out on real life!
2. MAKE TIME
There is no doubt that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it is usually also the busiest. Because of this you must choose where you spend your time wisely and be intentional about the invitations you say yes or no to. Ask each family member one or two things that are priority for them to be involved in. For Dad it may be the company Christmas party and a weekend of skiing, whereas Mom might want a shopping date or a family movie night. Kids may want to explore local light displays or have a gift exchange with their friends. The point is to make sure every family member gets to enjoy their priority and it protects the calendar from becoming filled with things that aren’t as important.
3. ALWAYS GIVE
All throughout the year there are opportunities to give, but it seems like at Christmas those opportunities grow exponentially. It’s also a time when a lot of people are more focused on what they will get than what they can give. If your children are still in your home, you have the important task of teaching them how to share and to give, as this isn’t a natural trait that most of us have. It is a skill that has to be learned and practiced, and what better time of year than Christmas to learn such a wonderful lesson. Serving at church, school, a local food pantry, or donating supplies and toys to organizations are all good ideas. Consider giving your children a dollar amount and letting them pick out which toys or items to buy. You can even use this idea for an exchange between siblings. Encourage children to work on handmade gifts for family members and neighbors. Writing a poem, singing a song, creating a card, or offering an act of service can mean much more to adults who don’t really ‘need’ anything anway.
But let us not forget.. all of these things are well and good, but they don’t really hold much value in and of themselves. Let’s remember why we celebrate this glorious holiday in the first place: Almighty God decided to give an undeserving humanity the truest and most precious Gift that has ever been given in His Son Jesus. Here's to making the most of a wonderful Christmas Season!