Christmas always sparks up the nostalgic, the purposefulness, the intention to create family and memories and remember! I love tradition and I love making new traditions, my family has lots of them and I want to share some with you so that maybe you will borrow pieces of them to make them part of yours.
Choosing a devotional to go through in the month of December has been part of a recent tradition as my children have gotten older. Ann Voskamp’s, The Greatest Gift, has been one of my favorites but it is a little deep for younger minds. This year we are reading through Louie Giglio’s, Waiting Here for You: An Advent Journey of Hope. It is a little book packed with goodness and thought provoking ideas. It reminds us about all we anticipate in the Christmas season, taking our minds off of Santa and surprises to find on Christmas morning and putting them on the real present we wait to celebrate – the birthday of our Lord! Postured daily to remember.
Blessing Tree sit atop my table with Christmas-colored, folded pieces of paper that fill like ornaments, decorated with “blessings” for another. Each handwritten one with an act of kindness to bless another…write a love note to a grandparent, smile at a stranger, bring a sweet treat to your hairdresser or dentist, make your brother or sister’s bed, pray for someone who needs healing today. Daily reminder to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this broken, depraved world, that’s often a little short on kindness.
On Christmas morning, before presents under the tree are opened and chaos ensues, we pause to light candles placed on freshly baked chocolate and triple berry muffins and sing “Happy Birthday to Jesus.” Each has birthday presents to give to Him. On Christmas Eve, with paper and envelopes, we reflect and write -one for each member of our immediate family- these are read Christmas morning during our birthday party. The question has been asked for years now – “How has he/she been more like Christ this past year?” Each has an answer for each family member in response to this question. Answers include things as simple as “She plays with me,” to “He is kind and generous and helps others see their value in this life.” There are 7 of us, so each receives 6 affirmations about how his/her life reflects the character of Jesus.
And a 2nd question – a Christmas present to Jesus – “How will I work this year to be more like Christ through the year?” -one issue to focus on and work to discipline and allow God to mold and shape each into His character.
Our Christmas Gifts for 2016 included:
Marc – surrender my ambition for His
Melissa – confidence – BE Me
Kamaryn – bravery in new things
Beau – personal growth
Alayna – put others first
RyahGrace – slow down and be patient
Evyn – family first
Christmas seems to come and go faster and faster now. I feel like we take the ornaments and lights off the tree, put them back in the attic and before I blink it’s time to get them down again! I hate how fast time seems to be going, and it’s speeding up! It can begin to blur and cause us to get on automatic pilot but these simple, yet purposeful traditions help to slow things down for me, help me to focus and tune in to the wonder of the season, to really see people and offer the love of Christ and the gift we are reminded that He is to each of us in the cooler (we are in Louisiana, its never really cold for too very long here) month of December.
- Slow down and let His love capture your heart and share it with others this Christmas.
- Be intentional to gift Him with something intimate and personal, giving Him access to an area of your life that could really use His touch.
Remember – He is the reason for the season! Don’t miss Him in all the hustle and bustle of what can capture your attention, He is our greatest gift.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth…”
Big sigh…I love this line, my soul breathes a sigh of relief –
He appeared! He appeared! Yes, Yes, Yes!! He appeared!
Breathe Him in – He appeared!