What Makes for a Meaningful Christmas?
Can Christmas go imperfectly and still be meaningful? Is there such a thing as a perfect Christmas? Yet, we still aim for that illusive dream. If you believe popular media and holiday guides, you may think that everything to do with Christmas from the tree and decorations, to the food, and even how you wrap your gifts, has to be perfect. That’s simply not true and deep down in your heart, you know this. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect to be meaningful.
The Secret to a Meaningful Christmas
What makes Christmas meaningful is that God sent His only Son, Jesus, into a sinful world, as a baby, with the express purpose that one day He would die on a cruel cross, in payment for our sins. And, that He would rise again, triumphing over death and sin! That everyone who believes on Him might be saved and have eternal life! That’s what makes Christmas meaningful!
In our heart, though, this time of year, is often a state of panic, instead of peace. Strife in our homes, instead of joy. According to God’s Word, at the heart of our strife is lust!
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” James 4:1-3
If we would spend more time in the Word of God and in prayer with our Heavenly Father, we would spend less time in panic. We need to have our hearts changed, and then our Christmas will be, too.
What Makes It A Meaningful Christmas?
Love God and Love People
Cookies taste just as good when they aren’t perfect. Handmade ornaments with imperfections are more personal.
Mix and match holiday decorations reflect your unique style, your family history, and bring back warm memories.
A burnt pie or an under-cooked turkey may seem like a Christmas dinner disaster, but they also give you stories you’ll retell and laugh about for years to come.
Stop striving for perfection. Instead, focus on worshiping the newborn King. Remember the important thing is to love God, and, love people.
Be more organized next year in order to be able to focus on what’s important, to do those things that make it more meaningful, and special, and celebrate the birthday of the King, Jesus. Get my Calm, Christ-Centered Christmas Planner Printables today!
Calm, Christ-Centered Christmas Planner Printables
How Are You Spending Your Time
At the end of the day, it won’t matter to your children, or your spouse, how perfectly you wrapped their gifts. What matters is that you were there loving them. You spent time with them.
Don’t spend hours upon hours getting the tree decorated just right, if it stresses you out and you’re yelling at your family to help you! If you’re trying to recreate a magazine cover or movie scene, with Christmas music playing, all the family smiling as they put lovely ornaments on the tree, and drinking hot chocolate, your cranky, stressed family and disastrous mess of a house might disappoint you. You can’t force your family to create a picture perfect holiday scene. (You may be able to get organized for the holidays earlier next year, though, in order to be less stressed?)
Instead, turn on some Christmas music, and sing praises to Jesus, as you decorate. Have a joyful heart. If you end up doing it alone, have fun decorating it yourself! Create an atmosphere of joy and praise in your home. Don’t try to force others to have fun doing Christmas activities!
Maintain Your Family’s Regular Routine
- Is your family’s schedule in turmoil?
- Are you so involved at church or in other activities that your family’s a wreck at home?
- Are your children staying up too late, eating too much sugar, and you’re surprised that their behavior is terrible?
Calm, Christ-Centered Christmas Planner Printables
Get back into a stable routine. Give your kids time to transition between events and let them know what’s going to be happening, at least the night before, and with time to prepare mentally. Don’t expect them to go at your speed.
You are aware of all the calendar events for the week, but they are not. It takes time for them to get ready to head out the door, especially if they didn’t know you were going anywhere! They need time to adjust mentally and emotionally. Realize, also, that your little ones need regular naps at home, not always in the car or in another location. Feed your family healthy food, as much as possible, and put the sweets out of sight.
Plan Next Year’s Christmas To Be Calmer
Allow yourself enough time to do 1 or 2 of those things that you feel are important, and let go of some of the less important activities this year, if possible. Make notes for next year which activities were too taxing on your family. and what you need to change. Sometimes a schedule looks good on paper, but when you begin to live it, you realize it isn’t.
Put some activities away this year or on the shelf for another season. You have control. Be intentional. Pray about it, then explain lovingly. You have to do what’s best for your family. Use my Schedule for a Calm, Christ-Centered Christmas Planner Printables to intentionally plan what you will include, and schedule ahead to get it done, so that you can focus on what’s important–Jesus’ birthday! It may be too late for this year, but it’s not too late to totally transform next year’s celebration!
Also, be flexible. It may take days to get all the decorations up, and the tree decorating may have to be done in shifts. It doesn’t matter that it gets done in a certain way, at a certain time. Get to bed, say no to the Christmas treats, and realize why your children are acting this way, and give them grace. Put discipline and routine back into your home, and you’ll be amazed at the results.
Christ-mas means God/Christ came to Save You
Be A Family That Loves Others
Bring joy to others. Even traditions can be suspended, if need be. If you’d planned to do certain activities, you can decide this year not to! It’s ok! The world will not come to an end. Have your kids do copy work of Luke 2, and visit an elderly neighbor and gift her with it. That will be a highlight of your Christmas. Look the store clerk in the eye, smile, and say, “Merry Christmas!” as your child hands them a candy cane, with the Story of the Candy Cane tied on with ribbon.
Do something that all your family can enjoy together: go sledding, skating, or build a snowman. Bake cookies, read some books. Take time today to relax, enjoy your family, do something for someone else, and remember how imperfect the first Christmas was.
Spend Time With Family
When you feel yourself falling into the trap of wanting a perfect Christmas, think about your favorite Christmas memories. Our most precious memories don’t usually center on perfectly decorated Christmas trees, or beautifully wrapped gifts.
They often involve spending time with people we love, doing things like baking cookies, making ornaments, creating homemade gifts, or singing Christmas hymns. Reenacting the Christmas story, with the latest baby playing Jesus. Reading the Christmas story from Luke 2, with all the lights out and only a few candles lit, on Christmas Eve. Or attending a Christmas Eve service.
Christmas Is Often Sad And Lonely Or Difficult
If you are going through a tough time this Christmas, remember some Christmases will be a lot more challenging than others. Maybe there was a death in your family. Maybe your husband lost his job. Maybe the fridge or furnace, or your car, broke down.
You may think this has upset your plans for a meaningful Christmas, but, how you react to trouble is what’s important. Remember these are character-teaching moments for your kids. These are the moments when your kids are watching you to see how you will respond. They will take their cues from you.
Accepting the bad, with the good, as Job said (“What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”Job 2:10) and with a grateful heart, is key. Looking for what God has for you to learn from it, and giving thanks in every thing. It’s all in the Hand of our Sovereign Lord. No room in the Inn? No problem, we’ll just use the manger for a baby’s bed. That’s the way God had it planned from the beginning.
What Makes a Meaningful Christmas?
Doing little things for others often makes you feel better yourself. Just spending time together, as a family, even if there’s no, or few, gifts, no lights, no special anything, remembering what happened over 2000 years ago, and why, will make it a more meaningful Christmas. That is a Good Christmas. Doing something for someone less fortunate than yourselves will also remind you how much you have to be grateful for. If you are having an unusual Christmas, remember, it’s often these unusual Christmases that will stand out and matter most to your family. It will be a meaningful Christmas, if you remember what you’re celebrating and why.
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