The Christmas season normally includes a long list of to-dos and events. We are excited to spend time with family and friends, but often find ourselves tired and overcommitted. When we accept party invites, sign up to help with a donation drive, offer to host a cookie exchange, we assure ourselves we have time to do it all.
However, when the time comes, we find our energy drained and an overwhelmed feeling creeps in. Add to that the gifts to purchase and wrap, the decorating, the baking, the meal planning and possible travel and we often lose the joy that comes with the season.
This may be the year to find simplicity in the season. Many of the normal events of the Christmas season have been cancelled or downsized due to the pandemic. Instead of filling in that time with new things, what about taking time to rest?
With reduced expectations and possible disappointment, choose to focus on the joy of Christmas and the reason we celebrate. Jesus came as God’s gift to us. Let’s reflect on that precious gift. Many people use an advent calendar to focus on the reason for the season. There are many options for celebrating advent. Focus on the Family offers one on their website. www.focusonthefamily.com/advent. Enter your name and email and you will receive a pdf with weekly activities and a daily devotional to draw us into greater intimacy with God this holiday season.
Their website also provides many ideas for activities to do with your children that bring the meaning of Christmas to life. These do not create another list of to-dos; they are simple activities you can do as a family that brings the joy of Christmas to life.
Although we may not be able to host parties with family and friends, we can still reach out to them. Each day during your devotion time, select a loved one and pray specifically for them. Then send them a note (handwritten is always appreciated) or a text and let them know you were thinking of them and praying for them. Although it doesn’t take much time, prayers are effectual and will mean a great deal to them.
Sometimes it is these simple activities that bring the most joy. This allows us time to focus on our loved ones and celebrate the joy of Jesus. When looking back at my childhood, it wasn’t the extravagant events that I remember; it is the time with family, playing games, cooking or baking that come to mind.
In this unusual Christmas season, allow the slower schedule to create a simpler, more joy-filled celebration of Jesus’s birthday. “For unto is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)