Okay, stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, slowly exhale, take another breath, exhale even more slowly. Relaxed? You’re welcome.
All of us know what we’re about to embark upon, the crazy busyness of the holiday season. Who else, besides me, vows year after year to remember to not get too caught up in the hub-bub and slow down and enjoy the season? We need to be reminded over and over again about what really is important. What is important? What do we focus on during the holidays? Family? Friends? Food? Parties? Concerts? Decorations? Presents? All good things, to be sure, but…
What should we focus on?
When I was a child Christmas was the most exciting time of the year. The day after Thanksgiving was the kick-off for our Christmas celebration. Our tree went up, and presents were laid out underneath, and I had more than a month to anticipate what I was going to get. Christmas was all about my presents–what I was going to get. My parents made an agreement that there should be no mention of Jesus and all the focus should be on Santa Claus and toys. You see, my father was Jewish and my mother was raised being forced to go to church, and both were mad at God. They played the Santa game, and I fully and unreservedly believed in Santa. I completely trusted that my parents were telling me the truth. Gullible? Maybe. I needed something to believe in. As hard as my parents tried to eliminate God from our household, they couldn’t stop me from searching for God, and I found Him.
Now that I’m the parent of two young children, what does Christmas look like in my household? We still get our tree the day after Thanksgiving, but presents are not laid out until Christmas Eve. My children know who Santa Claus is, but he is not the focus of our celebration. We now focus on the birth of Jesus. I take every opportunity to recount the Nativity story and have Christmas music that focuses on Jesus playing on our stereo. My husband and I do not exchange gifts with each other. Our children each get two small gifts (one from us, and one from each other). We reserve our most generous giving to the two children we sponsor through World Vision and other charities.
This year, I want to be even more purposeful to remember Jesus during this season by making time each day to walk through the Advent season hand-in-hand with Him by doing a 4-week study beginning on December 1st. Each evening, my family and I will take 15-20 minutes to read Scripture, talk about it, and pray together. My desire is that we cultivate a culture of thankfulness and giving, rather than the greed I grew up with. I hope that my children will learn to think first about thanking God for His perfect Gift (Jesus), and desiring to bless people who are most in need at this time of year.
This year, my family and I will be using the Hello Mornings Advent Power Pack which includes the study guide “Then Came Jesus” and everything listed on the picture below for only $5.00. I have been blessed by the simple Bible study guides produced by Hello Mornings. They are truly guides with very little commentary that allows me to seek the LORD to reveal to me what He wants me to see.
If this is something you’re looking for, a way to purposefully practice remembering Jesus this Advent season, please consider purchasing this Power Pack. Full disclosure–I do have an affiliation agreement, and I will financially benefit from any power packs sold through my affiliation link. However, my promise to you is that 100% of any money I receive through these sales will be donated to the Salvation Army.
Please click on the picture below to order. May Jesus reveal Himself in surprising ways to you this season.