I often struggle with prioritizing.Sometimes I feel like there are so many things to do that I don’t know there to start.It feels like I am trying to drink out of a fire hose.But then, if I can draw some perspective and think through what exactly is worth doing, what needs to be done, what is important, I can often lessen the overwhelming flow.
How much more intense is this torrent during this season?Thoughts of Christ in Christmas are hard to come by if I don’t initiate them myself.They aren’t in the stores, the teachers aren’t allowed to mention them, the marketers would rather write fairy tales of gifts that bring happiness on Christmas morning.
So how do you keep your eye on the prize?How do you remember that Jesus is the reason for the season?How do your drink in the sweet grace of our encounter with the divine in the vulnerable form of a baby?
I would love to hear about how you and your family enjoy a Christ-centred Christmas in your home.Please comment on the blog and share your ideas with all of us!
Here are a few ideas that we have tried or heard of:
1)Make sure that your gift giving includes gifts for Jesus.We started a family tradition of celebrating Jesus’ birthday the way we would other family and friends: cake and gifts for the birthday boy!When we blow out the candles we one by one give him a gift of words of praise and then we choose gifts out of a Samaritan’s Purse or Gospel for Asia or other Christian charitable catalogue.
2)Give gifts that emphasize the thought rather than the price tag.A woman I spoke to recently said that in their family they draw names and each get a gift of a used book for the person they drew.They have so much fun finding out what the person might like, discussing their literary tastes and hunting down the special treat.A thoughtful and inexpensive way to love on your family.
3)Before accepting invitations to gatherings, events and parties, decide who you most want to spend time with over the holidays and how often you want to go out and make sure that you protect your schedule from events that won’t fit these priorities.With several birthdays in our extended family at this time of year, we find that often we have to choose to only accept invitations from family in December and plan to visit others in the New Year.
4)Give gifts that are a double blessing.Get a gift that will not only make a loved one smile but will also bless a needy person through a charity or will bless a local small business person who is trying to provide for their family (rather than a large corporation that is trying to pad their bottom line).This year many of our gifts are home made by local artisans, by our family or are supporting charitable endeavours that are close to our hearts.
5)Do less, enjoy God’s people more.I have come to realize that the only way that we will have the house decorated, the children educated, the cookies baked, the cards sent, the house clean, and the packages wrapped is if the whole family is intensely involved.When the kids were younger, this was next to impossible and even now, there is so much that we can’t accomplish in pursuing all of these traditions.So ask yourself, can we do without baking? Can we send our love in a simpler way than having to mail Christmas cards?Can our gifts consist of gifts of time to visit rather than rushes to the store with an overtired credit card?
As you prepare your hearts and homes for the celebration of the coming of Christ this season, I wish for you the opportunity to drink in the sweetness of the moments and really savour our Saviour.