An Intentional Christmas

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.

But 2020.

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?

But Jesus. 

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

8 thoughts on “An Intentional Christmas

  1. Leigh Ann, you mentioned simplicity in your beautiful post. This year taught us we don’t have to have everything we want. We can adapt, do without, and tailor our elaborate plans into simpler, more meaningful ones. Your words helped me take a deep breath and refocus. Years ago when my family purchased gifts for a prisoner’s family, we ate a chili supper and sat on the floor together to wrap the gifts. Our focus shifted from our wants to reaching another family with gifts and God’s love. What a blessing!


  2. How I loved this post ma’am. What are the things in our “every day” life that we should be intentional about in our families? Yes, celebrating the holidays are a great time for making special memories; and I love the simplicity aspects of your family’s celebrations so everyone could participate. When I think on “intentional” though, my mind drifted to my adopted dad requiring each of his children to share something new we learned before we could eat dinner (or go find the dictionary for a new word if you had nothing), praying as a family, and those Sunday after church family drives. It was those simple things that I’ve stored as treasured memories. Thank you for a delightful get away from the craziness around us. You’ve made me want to live more intentional this season. God’s blessings.


    1. Yes, J.D.! I so agree. Everyday should be intentional–making memories and making a difference in Kingdom work. I love your example of each child sharing something new they learned each day. Oh, what a challenge for each of us! Christmas blessings, sir.


  3. Two of my favorite words are included in your post, intentional and simplicity. Many of the things you shared from your Christmases of the past are precious, yet foreign to me. Not only am I grateful to read of your sweet Christmas memories, I am inspired to create a few of my own! Thank you for creating beautiful visions in The Light of Christ.


    1. Both of these words (intentional and simplicity) can be a struggle for me. I really have to follow God’s leading and let go of expectations (mine and others). But oh, the joy of simple celebrations in Christ. Christmas blessings, Charla! May you create many beautiful memories with your family.


  4. 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.
    Beautiful post!


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