In previous seasons of magic and joy and raising little girls, our lives easily morphed into a blur of parties, programs, and angel-clad performances. And if we weren’t careful, Christmas—true Christmas—would become lost in a swirl of let’s-get-to-the-next-thing chaos.
Even now, with an ever-expanding family and households, coordinating myriad schedules and activities can be overwhelming.
Worship and wonder over the Greatest Gift may not take a backseat to endless activity these days, but this unusual year offers unique challenges as well.
These trying months have been about adjustment, change, sacrifice, loss, and letting go. Families are being stretched, challenged and catapulted into a cavernous new-normal-life crater.
These are days of fear, uncertainty, and for many, hopelessness. How can we possibly turn our hearts to celebration when things feel so … dark?
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-2, 4-5
To many of us, the darkness of this year has seemed unbearable. But the same One who spoke light into a formless void at creation, and who pierced the darkness of a sin-sick world with the sacrifice of His own Son, this same One—is more than able to light every corner of our hearts today.
Our children need to hear us say it, sing it, even cry it: No matter what we are facing in any given moment, the light of Jesus will bring purpose and perspective to our minds and hearts.
We can celebrate Christmas because His glorious light of redemption shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The first nativity was oh, so simple and precious. So, here’s a challenge for us to keep ours simple too, with a few ideas to create family memories our loved ones will remember, treasure, and someday share with their families.
Make your family Christmas story about The Story. My favorite memories are of our little ones acting out Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. Our family productions were the epitome of simplicity, but oh, the sweetness of toddler “Mary” with her baby doll Jesus. Our living room became a place of creative worship as we shared and remembered the foundation of our faith.
Encourage older children to use their unique gifts in family worship. Is there a budding pianist or guitarist to lead in caroling? Who in your crew loves to organize or direct? In worship, there is a place for every gift.
Focus on giving. Even our littlest ones can participate in family giving. Homemade cards and crafts are priceless treasures to grandparents, neighbors, and shut-ins (especially this year!). And our children will remember and cherish those messy times baking give-away cookies and fudge more than those old shopping trips, anyway. Other all-in family activity can include donating to local charities or volunteering in ministries to reach those in need.
Share stories of love, silliness, and dreams for the future. Gather around an old-fashioned fire or grouping of candles and talk. Give each family member the opportunity to shine. Ask questions of older children like, what were your greatest challenges this year? How did you see God work in your life? What are you envisioning for the year ahead? What are your concerns?
Younger children can relive special events as well. Remember our special walks in the park? What treasures did we find? What was your favorite part?
Oh, the bond the Lord will create–the growth and maturity that will occur—as our families walk through unusual or difficult seasons together. And when we as parents share how God worked in our lives during the year, we plant within our children a hunger to know and live for the Giver of all good things.
When we are intentional about how we navigate our December days, our family story takes on new purpose and meaning. This Christmas won’t become lost in the shuffle of years but will become a family treasure to be remembered for all time.
How does your family do intentional Christmas-ing?
in the Quiver