I hope you have had a great Thanksgiving. We are ten days from Christmas and I know that some of you have plans, parties and shopping to do. Thank you for taking a few minutes to read the blog.
I would like to share with you a video that changed our family's Christmas over 5 years ago from the Advent Conspiracy
At the time, I was VERY busy trying to make hundreds of cookies and mini breads to give away to friends and family for Christmas, cleaning the house, and spending lots of time stressing out over buying the perfect gift for family AND trying to "fit Jesus" into Christmas. I was trying to do both my family traditions and my husband's family traditions. Most of the time, we would have marathon Advent Calendar meetings where we would go through 5 days at a time because we weren't home enough to do the daily readings.
I don't know how I even was directed to this. I showed it to my husband and we started taking baby steps toward making this a reality. We started out by limiting gifts to our kids to just three--just like Jesus received three gifts. Instead of having each child buy a gift for all siblings and parents, we decided to have our kids draw one sibling's name in a gift exchange. Another year, instead of spending lots of time ignoring my kids while I baked, I started inviting a family or two to come over and bake with me and we would split the cookies. The kids didn't necessarily help much, but they usually had friends, which built relationships and I got mommy time. My in-laws helped in our giving because they decided that they didn't need any more stuff and started asking us to give to their organizations. A few years later, I decided that we should exchange non-material gifts of service for the year. This year, we decided as a family to help an organization by giving our time one day out of the year. Our Christmases aren't perfect, but they are more memorable.
The biggest issue is still keeping Jesus as the primary focus of the holiday. The past four years, we have been so busy with kids activities, we still have been having marathon Advent sessions. Even this year, we don't have a standard time each day. We still probably spend more time focusing on gift giving rather than spending time in prayer and meditation and relationally. But I also know that our Christmas season is far less stressful because I have given up a lot of traditions that have nothing to do with Christ's birth and so we enjoy each other just a little bit more. And there is nothing bad or ugly about that.