Tis the season for joy and laughter!!! Isn’t it? Well that’s what we sing about, but how many of us are actually living it? For most of my adult years I’ve come to realize that many people are not only lacking the joy, they’re actually looking forward to Christmas being over before it’s even begun. It’s a stress for many families for various reasons such as the cost, the busyness, and the long “to do” list that comes along with it.
Thankfully, most kids still seem to enjoy the wonder of Christmas. Why is that? Well the obvious is that they don’t have to entertain or prepare for travelling. They also don’t have to shop or spend money they don’t have. They are free to just enjoy the beauty of Christmas and all that it entails. But wait a minute… do we “have” to do those things? Sometimes we are so caught up in what we’ve always done or what we’re expected to do, that we forget that we have choices. Switching things up can not only be healthy, it can turn out to be great fun.
Travelling with small children can be difficult, especially if you happen to have unhappy travellers. Consider skipping the long drive this year if it’s going to be a stress on your family or plan to travel every other year if that helps. Maybe you can invite others to join you at your house as an option. You may find that people welcome the change. Even in those circumstances when that doesn’t work out, you will surely enjoy staying home for a quiet and peaceful Christmas with your immediate family.
I understand these decisions are hard, but once you’ve made them, you’ll notice a new sense of peace. I think that is exactly what we need to be working towards this Christmas. Peace! Not more stuff, more food, more outings, but more peace. Peace doesn’t just show up. It needs to be sought after. Once we make the decisions that lead to peace, I believe adults will join their children in the joy and wonder of Christmas once again.
TIPS FOR A JOYFUL AND PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS:
1) Eat the food you’ve already got in your freezer/cupboards to save on groceries
2) If entertaining, make it a potluck so the work can be shared and the costs kept down
3) Consider making homemade gifts (e.g. baked goods, jams/pickles, teas and coffees, candles, chocolate, recipe booklet, blanket)
4) Less is more. Use the example of Jesus. He was brought 3 special and symbolic gifts when he was born: Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh.
5) Make certificates for what someone might enjoy e.g. sleepover party, date with mom/dad, movie night, baking favourite meal or dessert, tobogganing, etc.
6) Plan some very special time and create your own traditions/memories with your kids. Time is the best gift you can give them. Bake, sing carols, read the story of Jesus birth together, etc. They will remember these things far above any gift you purchase for them at the store.
7) Be Thankful for all of your blessings!
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.