By Faith Reynolds
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, it is! Starting in October, I’m already getting excited about the whole Christmas season. As we enter into the Christmas season, consider these three things:
MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS SPIRITUAL.
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is all well and good, but what about “Have Yourself a Christian Little Christmas”? What makes your home any different from the homes of unsaved people at Christmastime? Is your Christmas really centered on Christ, or is it just about the gifts and time with family?
For several Christmas Eves, my dad would dress up like Santa, and our family would make surprise visits to people in our church. Most of our visits were either to someone very poor or to someone who knew that it would be their last Christmas on earth. I learned so much by doing something for others on Christmas Eve.
Another memory I have is of my parents having us kids tell the Christmas story using our nativity scene. Poor Joseph’s head had to be glued back on several times. Even our gentle playing was too rough for the porcelain crèche!
When we were kids, my mom “forced” us to give gifts to our dad and to her and to each of our siblings. When my brothers were very young, they could not afford much, and one year we all received a chocolate Santa-shaped sucker. Something is wonderful about Christmas morning when the kids are excited over the gifts that they are GIVING—not just over the gifts that they are GETTING! This sounds, well…spiritual!
MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL.
Have you ever felt yourself anticipating Christmas being OVER? Sounds crazy, but sometimes the stress of all the things we “need” to do makes Christmas overwhelming! Think of the Christmas you enjoyed the most as a child. What made it so special? It probably wasn’t the price of the gifts or anything extravagantly planned.
I remember very few gifts that I received, but I do remember the year that I played the board game “Clue” all Christmas afternoon with my Grammie. I remember several years of playing hockey in the driveway with my three brothers. I remember the wild Pictionary battles my family would enter into on Christmas night. I remember Christmas music played, cinnamon rolls eaten, and candles lit. Those things made Christmas special to me.
Many families have a tradition of opening a gift on Christmas Eve. Our family did that too, but we also opened one on Christmas “Adam.” What’s Christmas Adam? Well, it’s the day before Christmas Eve, of course! Adam came before Eve in the Bible, you know. Yes, this was just a way to get to open an extra gift, but it was special.
Last year my husband, two kids, and I did simple, yet special things all month long. One night we made cookies, lay on the pull-out couch bed, and watched the old cartoon, “The Grinch That Stole Christmas.” I had forgotten how cute it is! One night, we walked down some streets with hot cocoa in hand and looked at Christmas lights. These were easy, cheap things that helped make the Christmas season special.
Perhaps make a list of all of the things you normally do for Christmas, decide which ones really matter to you, and focus on making those things extra special for your family.
MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS FULL OF SURPRISES.
Has Christmas Day itself ever been a letdown? We build it up so big, the gifts are opened…and now what? I would encourage you to plan some “surprises” on Christmas Day and make the day exciting from start to finish.
Last year we crisscrossed crepe paper across the doorway of our kids’ room. Christmas morning began with their bursting through the paper. So exciting for little ones! I also planned lots of special, but relaxing, things to do throughout the day, including riding bikes, going out for coffee (Yes, Starbucks is open Christmas Day!), calling the grandparents, and playing board games. We try to give our kids a new game on Christmas to play that day. I ended Christmas Day by “finding” one more gift in my closet for each child and even one for my husband. These little surprises made the excitement of Christmas last all day long.
What will you do to make this Christmas season spiritual, special, and full of surprises for your family? “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)