I wanted to revisit this post from last year because I needed to read it and be reminded of where my focus should be as we enter the hectic Christmas season! Hope it inspires some of you out there as we approach Black Friday and the busiest shopping time of the year!
As I sit here...unusually calm and caught up the day before Christmas...I am pondering how and where this peace and calm is coming from. Now, I have to be honest.....by Christmas eve I am running on pure adrenalin...I am as bad as the kids...I LOVE giving gifts...so I get VERY excited the day before Christmas Eve...and that will keep me going until tomorrow at about noon:-) But, usually I am racing around, snapping at my girls, trying to finish last minute stuff. But, not this year...and I have to give GOD ALL the glory! I have been prayerfully seeking His guidance in changing the focus of our Christmas celebration from the "stuff" of the holiday to the REASON for the holiday:-) For me, the changes started a few years ago when I told my girls Santa was not real. I know to some that may seem to take the fun out of it...but for us, it was absolutely the best thing we did. The Santa "monster" had just taken over and it was making me crazy and all of us miserable and self centered. Let me stop and say right now...I know there are plenty of families out there who have not let Santa get out of control...but for us it had truly become a monster! It was ALL about what they wanted and what Santa could bring them....and there was no end to their list of wants because Santa had magical elves and he could give them everything they wanted.....thank you, Hollywood! Once they knew where the gifts were coming from...they understood they could not have EVERYTHING on their list. It also made shopping and wrapping much easier...I didn't have to hide the fact that I had gifts for them...just hide the gifts so they would be surprised...no more wrapping at 10 p.m....just tell them I'm locking the door during nap time so I can get the gifts wrapped. Then, this year I decided they would not make lists...I know what they want...what they have been eyeing in the stores...I don't need a list of last minute sales ad induced impulse requests! So, I told them I would be surprising them with what I thought I knew they wanted this year! That allowed for my shopping to be done by the first week of December...and nothing else to be added to it. I also didn't have the stress of their disappointment if I could not find that ONE thing they REALLY wanted. If they saw something I would just say...my shopping is done....and they were fine with it! And best of all it took them from focusing on their lists of wants to what they were giving and doing for OTHERS.
Now, let me tell you I did not do any of this on my own because I am so smart and wise...on my own I had made a mess of Christmas! All I have done is listen to that still small voice and obeyed when it seemed hard or even scary. (It broke my heart to hear Hope cry the night I told her about Santa...but she was over it in a day...and the peace from that one decision has been immeasurable!)
I know some may say I am being extreme...and I do not share all of this to try to convict anyone of what is the "right" or "wrong" way to celebrate. I am sharing only to encourage anyone that may be feeling convicted about giving up the whole Santa thing...it does not spoil the fun, I promise! The fun is in the surprise of the gifts...a well thought out, straight from the heart gift! I am a gift giver...it is definitely one of my love languages...so I LOVE to pick out things I think my family will love and see their reactions. Sometimes I go overboard...still working on that one. This year each girl has 8 things to open and 3 things for all of them. Still seems like too much...maybe next year I can whittle that number down to 5. But, I will say God provided some awesome deals and sales on some really great stuff. So, even though it is still a lot of "stuff"...it did not break the bank...phew!
A few other things I have done is to surround us with Nativity scenes, books and music about Jesus, and this morning we read a short devotion that starts with Christmas and ends with the plan of salvation before breakfast! Here is the link if you want to check it out.
Tonight our church has a candle light service where we will hear the Christmas story again. I am excited to worship my Lord tonight and to celebrate his birth, death and most importantly His Resurrection! Tomorrow morning we will light a birthday candle and sing happy birthday to Jesus and blow out that candle to help refocus on what and why we celebrate Christmas. I would love to hear any family traditions you have which are centered around Christ's birth! Please share any and all...I am always looking out for new ideas!
I am praising God for a glorious start to our Christmas celebration and wishing all of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and all of God's peace and blessings on you today and always!
lots of love,