By Danielle, Contributing Writer
And so it begins. The four weeks between Christmas and New Years has become “What am I going to get” and “What am I going to give” season. In fact, it seems to begin far earlier than that these days. The commercial aspect of Christmas has taken over the hearts of man around the world.
It’s even taken over the heart of Christians. For any family the Christmas season can be sensory overload. From Halloween to Christmas Eve we are bombarded with decorations, music, advertisements and movies all dedicated to making Christmas “the best” or “the biggest” or “the most memorable. We have to juggle shopping, children, parties and more. And the Christian family has one more aspect to juggle: Jesus. How do we juggle Jesus amidst the hustle and bustle? How do we keep the real meaning of Christmas alive?
First, dear friends, we have it backward. If we are celebrating December 25th as a day to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, squeezing in Jesus should not be an issue. Squeezing in everything else should be the problem.
No Room At the Inn
Much like 2000 years ago, many of us find there’s little or no room for Christ in our Christmas or our lives. We find a way to squeeze Jesus in but that isn’t enough. If Christ is the center of the other 48 weeks of the year, you can keep Him the center of your holiday season, too. If you have a desire to make Christ the center of your family this is a wonderful time of year to start.
It is never too late to start building your own family traditions that keep Christ in Christmas. We have begun creating our own family traditions that mix things from our childhood with new things for our family. This is a wonderful way to keep the good memories alive while building in a heavy element of Christ.
Here are 12 ways to make room for Jesus in your Christmas:
#1 Birthday for Jesus
As you’re baking, why not add in a birthday cupcake for Jesus? Decide on a family gift you can give to Jesus such as weekly family devotional time or monthly volunteering at the homeless shelter. Give Jesus the gift of your heart and your time.
#2 Use Truth in the Tinsel
The Truth in the Tinsel resource is a hands-on guide to keeping your December Christ-focused.
#3 Limit gifts in cost and volume
Even Christians get sucked into the trap of give and get. We end up stressing over what we’ll give and who will get the most. Many families choose to give 3 gifts to each person, representing the gifts the Magi gave Jesus. You also want to be a good steward of God’s resources so keeping your Christmas budget in check is key as well.
#4 Buy or make a Christ-Centered Advent calendar
You can check out my Pinterest board for some great ideas on creating Christ-centered advent calendars on the cheap. Candy ones are fun, but why not use it as another tool to plant Jesus in the hearts of your children?
#6 Read Christ-centered Christmas books
Our family has a few books that come out only with the Christmas decorations. This keeps the books special for this time of year. There are some amazing Christ-centered Christmas resources out there, like the ones in this post.
#7 Buy or make a nativity set
If you have a nativity take it out piece by piece and with the family and set it up together. Read the story of Mary and Joseph and talk about how each person would have felt as they met the King of Kings. Here’s how Erin’s family decorates with nativities from around the world!
#8 Keep your quiet time on schedule
It’s so easy to hit the ground running with cookie prep, parties and shopping but I encourage you not to forget your quiet time. As the added stresses of the season build up and you feel the squeeze you want to be displaying love, not anger, impatience or frustration. Squeeze an orange, get orange juice; squeeze a Christian you should get Christ.
#9 Pray for someone you don’t know
Extra shopping trips, parties and holiday concerts make this the perfect time of year to start the habit of praying for people you don’t know. There is no better gift to give to a stranger than to pray for them. If you’re unsure where to begin check out my keys to effectively praying for strangers.
#10 Play Santa to a family in need
A good friend of mine was struggling one year at Christmas. Having just recovered from surgery to remove cancer, she and her husband were unsure how they’d afford Christmas. A loving couple down the street blessed them with gifts for themselves and the children. This opened the door for my friends to come to know Christ and begin a real relationship with Him.
#11 Invite neighbors or family to church
Many people only go to church on Christmas but some don’t go because they feel alone, left out or out of place. Why not invite the neighbor– yes, even the one you really don’t like–to your Christmas service or Christmas dinner?
#12 Volunteer at a soup kitchen
This is the perfect time of year to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, mission or homeless shelter. It is a good way to remember all you have to be thankful for. Check out this post for more ways to serve others with your children.
Instead of squeezing in room for Jesus this Christmas season, why not build a new tradition of keeping Jesus the center of your holiday?