Over the past month I have been working on preparing my home and heart to slow down and enjoy the days leading up to Christmas. Even though Christmas is still a month away I have been challenged to prepare early so that our family can really enjoy the season and prepare our hearts to focus on Jesus and the celebration of His LIFE! The Lord has been prompting me to remember Him in all seasons of life and as a result it has been fun to prepare ahead of time for Christmas.
I have decided this year that I am rebelling against the spirit of materialism and greed during this season. I am choosing not to be rushed, stressed, busy, or financially burdened. I prayed and asked the Lord to show me creative ways to bless the people in my life and He did! I purchased gifts that are truly meaningful and necessary for people rather than out of obligation…AND I have purchased them in advance. I am all done my Christmas shopping for this year! (I just need to print a few pictures for family gifts). I have never done anything like this before, usually I wait until much later and I find the whole shopping experience to be stressful and financially disorganized. Now that I am done so far in advance I feel really excited about everything that I bought and I am looking forward to blessing others with it.
I am hoping to start wrapping this weekend and then kick back and enjoy the month of December! At this time last year we had just moved into our home so it was a bit chaotic but this year it’s going to be much different!
I love some of the special family traditions we share during this season. Our “tree” advent calander, Christmas baking, gingerbread houses, decorating the tree, making Jesus’s birthday cake, ice skating, watching “Home Alone” and “Elf”, listening to Rita McNeil (it’s a childhood memory that I still hold onto:). I love listening to Christmas music, it is so calming and reflective during this time. We actually just got an amazing NEW christmas CD put out by my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Sean and Aimee Dayton, it’s called; A Living Room Christmas – it’s amazing and highly recommended. If you are interested check out their website at www.seandayton.com
I was thinking about starting some new traditions this year as well. I want to take time each week as a family and sit by the fire and remember all the blessings that we have had over the past year. I really want my children to get a picture of the importance and blessing of a Christ-centered life. I think as we begin to reflect together it will become evident that God has had His hand on our life throughout the past year. I would also like to start a large puzzle together and leave it set up on the dining room table so we can pick away at it over the holidays (We all LOVE puzzles). Once our children get older I think it would be fun to go out to a tree farm and get our own Christmas tree but for now we go to Home depot:) (They actually have beautiful and afforable trees).
My challenge to you this year is:
1. Plan your time wisely. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season steal the true joy that comes from slowing down and celebrating the birth of our Saviour. Sometimes you may need to say “no” to different events and invitations because they will steal your time.
2. Don’t let the spirit of materialism discourage you or burden you financially. Ask God to give you afforable ideas for gifts and He will show you ways to bless others. He is wise with finances:)
3. Make memories with your family. Bundle up and head outside for a walk, make snow angels, decorate your tree together, bake; whatever you do, do it TOGETHER!
4. Remember the greatest gift that God ever gave…His Son. Let you heart soak up the reality that you are worth SO much to God that He gave you His most valuable gift.
As you prepare for this holiday season may you experience the joy that comes from preparing your heart and your home so that you can recieve the greatest gift ever given – Jesus Christ!