Choose to Have a Godly Christmas (or Choose to Miss Out) / by Patti Greene, Greene Pastures by Patti
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Christmas is right around the corner. It is a time of fun and family for many people, but a time of sadness and loss for other people. We can choose to have a Godly Christmas or to miss out on all that God wants for us this season.
This Christmas will be our family’s first year without my father. You see, he passed away in February with a sudden diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia. From diagnosis to death was only 3 weeks. My mother, my brothers, spouses, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and myself miss him tremendously, but we decided to continue with the fun family time that he always enjoyed with us.
How can we keep having a great Christmas even when losses or tragedies have zapped our spirits over the past year? It’s tough, but well worth considering.
Get Your Mind Off Yourself and Think of Others
Whether it is within your own family and friends or with getting together through volunteering, thinking of others gets us beyond ourselves. It strengthens our character and gives birth to empathy towards others. Being part of another’s happiness makes us want to be a part of their lives. Think about the children we may encounter during the Christmas season. Make them happy! Think of the homeless men and women who need someone to talk to this Christmas. Make them grateful! Think of those who never receive a word of encouragement. Send a note to lift them up!
Be Pre-Prayed Up
To enjoy the season with a Godly attitude, pray before Christmas that your life will appreciate and enjoy the little niceties of the season. Pray that stress will not get you down. Pray that your family will get along. Pray that Christ will be glorified. Pray for forgiveness for any sins lingering in your mind. Repent of bad attitudes such as being jealous of others, or frequently wanting your own way.
Spend Time in the Bible
Let the Word of God soak deeply in your mind to prepare you to think of Christ and his birth during the days and weeks before December 25th. Ask God to speak to you about your life in 2016. Meditate on Christ’s presence in your life during 2017. Decide to follow God with your whole heart in the new year.
Continue with Family Traditions or Create some New Ones
If you haven’t starting making family traditions, start this year. Some family traditions my immediate family have had over the years are getting new sleepwear every year for all in the family. We open them before we open our gifts and wear them the rest of the evening. This tradition has developed from just plain pajamas to creating a secret theme each year for our pajamas. The kids love guessing, but I never tell ahead of time. A recent tradition that I started when grandchildren arrived was to wrap their gifts in different wrapping papers. Camren might have reindeer gift-wrap, Kinley might have peppermints, Crew might have Christmas trees, Chandler might have snowmen, and Harper might have candy cane paper. This is so fun for the kids. They scout out their gifts and they experience so much jubilee when they find one of their cousins’ gifts deep in the pile and hand (or throw) it to them. There are many other traditions you might be interested in.
Read the Christmas Story
Read the Christmas Story aloud in Luke 2 while the family listens. It is a big deal in our family because we take the huge heavy family Bible and drag that out for its annual trek to the family circle. The kids love seeing a BIBLE that big. This is an awesome experience in teaching everyone that the real meaning of Christmas belongs to Jesus Christ. Also, saying a blessing before the Christmas meal encourages all to honor our Lord and Savior. Giving everyone a chance to show gratitude for their food, provisions, and health is cleansing to our souls.
Put a Smile on Your Face and Be Grateful
Grin and be thankful for any gifts or compliments you receive. When our children and grandchildren observe us being thankful, they will hopefully model our behavior and be thankful this year and years to come. Try chatting with the kids before-hand and show them how to show gratitude for their gifts and meal even when it isn’t exactly what they want. This could come in a “thankful yell” across the room or getting up to give the person a hug or a kiss. And, after the fact, writing a thank-you note is a lovely gesture even for children. They can draw a picture of their gifts or even scribble. It is a great opportunity to teach our children how to write notes and address envelopes too.
When we plan in our shopping, in our food preparations, in our travels, and in our time, it helps ease the stress many of us experience during the Christmas season.thank
Using food as an example, if there is any food you can prepare ahead of time, do that. Preparing a huge Christmas or Christmas Eve meal is difficult. But having the host in the kitchen the entire gathering time is disconcerting to guests or family members. It is possible their Christmas celebration isn’t what they want when they never see the host or their grandmother because the kitchen and the dishes are her focus.
Put Christ in Christmas by Talking about Him
Model Christ in your behavior. Go to a Christmas Eve service. Have a manger scene available – kids love the adults in the family to play with the manager characters; watch Christian Christmas movies, and more.
No matter what your situation is during the Christmas season, let your light shine. Be a blessing to someone else. Enjoy the season and remember it is because Christ was born that we have the hope of salvation and eternal life through him.
It’s our choice whether we choose to have a Godly Christmas or to miss out. Choose today!
God Bless and Merry Christmas.