Christmas: Surviving and Thriving

Christmas: Surviving and Thriving

Now that we’ve survived Thanksgiving and Black Friday, let’s turn our attention to Christmas holiday planning. For years Christmas was not my holiday of choice. Sandwiched between two of my children’s birthdays, Christmas formed the daunting middle miles of a December marathon. Take heart, we can survive December and even enjoy it, but it may mean going against the norm.

Prepare Your Hearts

Romans 12:2 (NIV) reminds us, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

When I think conform, I think Play-doh. This is not what we’re going for—allowing the world to press us into its mold.

Think transform, as in Transformers, changing from one thing into another and lining up with God. And transformation comes from exposure to God’s Word.

Be as intentional about Christmas as you are about Easter and Lent. If you’re bailing on prepping for both, come on and join us! Here’s how:

  • Celebrate Advent.
  • Use a countdown to Christmas calendar that is Christ-centered.
  • Read through the Christmas story during December.

Start planning. This is the truly important stuff, so get it on the calendar first.

Place Santa Where He Belongs

If you’re a Santa fan, keep him in his proper place—on his knees before Jesus. One way to do this is to teach on the real Saint Nicholas who was quite the godly man. Put your nativity set (You do have one, right?) in a prominent place. Make sure the kids have one they can handle and play with.

One note on the nativity scene—please, don’t set your wise men at the stable! They were never there. Read Matthew. Instead, have them travel around the room. They didn’t arrive until Jesus was two years old, and trust me, Mary and Joseph were not living in the stable.

Note to parents: When you give Jesus top billing at Christmas rather than Santa, the gimmes (Gimme this! Gimme that!) mysteriously lose their pull. They might even disappear.

Holiday Planning Begins—Now

Sit down with the calendar now and schedule what is most important:

  • Preparing your heart
  • Time with your family and friends
  • Worshiping the newborn King

God will help you accomplish the other stuff when you put Him first. You will be amazed at how He will multiply your time, find you unbelievable bargains, and help you get a beautiful, delicious dinner on the table.

But don’t be shocked if He also asks you to turn loose of items you view as have-tos. If God is prying your fingers off, chances are it’s not a have-to but a want-to in disguise. Matthew reminds us to seek first the King and His Kingdom, then all these things will be given to us as well (Matthew 6:33).

So, come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Questions:

What is your biggest struggle with Christmas?

What do you think God desires for you this season?

How do His desires for you compare with the expectations you put on yourself?

Family Application:

Get together and talk about what everyone wants to do in December. Find out what is truly meaningful to everyone—and schedule it.

Set expectations for Christmas devotionals. You can find the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke. (Don’t skip the first part about Elizabeth and Zechariah.) Have a different person read a few verses from the Bible each night.

Watch The Nativity and other depictions of the Christmas story.

[Warning #1: Check for accuracy with Christmas TV and movies. Most get it wrong.]

[Warning #2: Be prepared for spiritual warfare. The enemy does not want your family to spend time together, especially time in God’s Word. Pray ahead of time and be ready to diffuse squabbles.]

Tweetables:

When I think conform, I think Play-doh. This is not what we’re going for. Click to tweet.

Think transform, as in Transformers, changing from one thing into another. Click to tweet.

If you’re a Santa fan, keep him in his proper place—on his knees before Jesus. Click to tweet.

When you give Jesus top billing, the gimmes (Gimme this! Gimme that!) mysteriously lose their pull. Click to tweet.

If God is prying your fingers off, chances are it’s not a have-to but a want-to in disguise. Click to tweet.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *