Welcome back to The Well. It is great to “see” everyone again! The topic today is:
Having a “Mary” Christmas: Keeping “Christ” in Christmas with Practical Ideas
And Tracy from Thirsty For Him, is the hostess
Do you find yourself stressed each Christmas, trying to “DO” all of the activities of the holiday, only finding yourself depleted and wondering if your family celebrated the true meaning of Christmas?
What are practical tips and ideas you can share that celebrate Christ and simplifies Christmas?
Actually after many years of discouraging holidays we decided to start over. Thankfully it was before any of our children had been brainwashed by society. Back when our oldest was just a baby we decided we didn’t want to do Christmas the way the average American did it. We never did any Santa, in fact every Christmas I used to wear a T-shirt that looked like this to the family gathering.
As you can guess it made me real popular. Especially with my husbands family who were probably at that point questioning his choice to marry me. 🙂 I won’t even get into my Disney boycott that started long before the Southern Baptist convention made such things popular and acceptable. I have always been a little extreme about truth. But hey so is Jesus, so I look tame compared to Him. Anyway, we revamped the way we celebrate. And after a couple more years of stressed out shopping even for just the close relatives we decided o REALLY pare it down. At that point we were not doing any exchanging gifts in our own family. We finally narrowed it down to giving a nice 8×10 family picture or a custom picture calendar to our parents and that is it.
So one of the most common questions we get is, “how did you get your children away fom it?” Well, they were never “into” the Holiday to begin with. And they were still really young when we threw out all the traditional things. Like the 12 foot evergreen idol most folks sit around on Dec 25 morning. I am not saying everyone makes an idol of it but for me growing up it was front and center demanding all attention when I was young. As for all the gifts, well we don’t watch TV so they never knew what they were supposedly missing. We teach different values. Like self control, and being content with real things.
So you may be wondering what we do do, if anything at all and why? Well many Bible scholars believe that Jesus was probably not even born this time of year and it is far from a Biblical Holiday. And all of the fables about anything pagan having Christian roots is a far stretch of the imagination. But our lives are centered around Jesus, and sharing about how His love can change your life. And there no other time of year when it is so acceptable to share that message. Folks are open to the Gospel at Christmas time, and we know an open door when we see it. So we use that opportunity to reach as many as possible. We bless folks anyway we can all in HIS name. We give baked gifts to our neighbors and have a family supper. We actually do the same thing we do every day, we worship, we pray, we fellowship and we recognize His goodness. If the grandparents give gifts we open them on another day and do not make a big deal out of it. Thankfully they usually give gift cards and we take a family shopping trip. On another day.
If you have had a lot of materialism that you would like to get rid of, I suggest that you have a really heart to heart talk with your children about blessing others and see if after prayer you can come to an agreement about sharing your Christmas gifts. And maybe blessing someone else. There are lots of ways to do that. Starting with needy children in your own community is a nice thought but needy children in America around Christmas time are few and far between. There are millions of agencies that exist for that purpose. How about supporting a child in another country? Not with toys but things they need, like shoes, or books. How about supporting a missionary family? How about making a meal and taking it to an elderly couple, and sticking around long enough to sing for them, or listen to their wonderful stories of how it used to be. How about visiting folks in a nursing home? Think service and God will give you plenty of ideas.
I guess the answers to Tracy’s questions are simple. Re-evaluate why you do what you do, then throw out what is not necessary. Choose to keep the activities that are important to Him and mean something for your family.
My new book, Making the Holidays Family Friendly goes right along with this and has different ideas. You can find it in my bookstore.
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