Hey Everyone! Well it is officially “that time of year again”! Thanksgiving is over and it is now time to put the tree up, turn on the Christmas music and get to baking! Truth to be told I am “one of those people”. I have had my tree up since the first of November. Now, before you stop reading, hear me out… as the Director of Events for the Chamber of Commerce here in Bartlesville, I plan and oversee the Ice Rink downtown. So, if I don’t decorate my house first it then feels like a chore or part of my checklist. And as a mom of 4 boys that is the last thing I would want them to feel. To feel that Christmas is a job or a chore or a season filled with checklists and things to do. You don’t have to oversee a large Christmas festival to find yourself feeling this way… it can just happen. In the world we live in life has become very distracting filled with all the “extras”. And as I know and realize, all the “extras” can be fun and bring you joy, but they can also be fillers.
What are fillers? To be honest, I’m not even sure I am using the word correctly. It’s a word that my husband and I use quite often. We learned early on in our marriage that we, ok I… I would say yes to things, over-commit to people, create grand unreal expectations in my head on how things should go. And nine times out of ten I would have “filled” my day, my week, and in some cases an entire month on little “fillers”. Fillers that didn’t bring my family together but instead took me away from them as I checked all the things off my to-do list or stayed up late finishing all the details. Often times this would push me over and leave me feeling burnt out, with nothing to give to my family, my church, or to God. Please hear me out, nothing is wrong with parties, volunteering, traveling… all of these things are good but as parents, we have to be intentional. Our days are so busy with all the things we have to do to keep our families together that it is easy to go through our days just going through the motions.
We need to learn to be intentional. It’s important to be intentional every day but especially around the holidays. As parents, our children need us to be present and in the moment. They need to feel that we are listening to them, they need to feel that we aren’t thinking about other things but that we are completely engaged with what they are saying or doing. During this Christmas season, challenge yourself to create intentional days and to get rid of the fillers. One way that has helped our family is by asking ourselves these questions:
- Does __________ please God?
- Will this bring joy and peace to me?
- Will this bring joy and peace to my family?
Intentional Holiday Moments for You and Your Kids
Below are some ideas to create some “intentional” moments with your children while pointing them to the real reason for the season… JESUS!
- Set up the Nativity – “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:8-12
- Make a list of all of our blessings – “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17
- Make Christmas ornaments – “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit delivers them.” – 1Corinthians 12:4
- Put the star on top of the tree – “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.” – Matthew 2:9
- Make cards and mail them to people you love – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34
- Bless a foster child or family – “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” – Matthew 9:37
- Make a meal for someone – “That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil-this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 3:13
- Make cards and gifts to take to the Children’s Hospital – “Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14
- Play games together – “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.” – Ecclesiastes 3:12
- Invite someone over for dinner – “Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4
- Do something nice for a stranger – “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
– Matthew 5:16
- Drink hot chocolate and Relax – “The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – Exodus 33:14
- Do a chore for someone in the family – “Just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:28
- Make snack packs for the homeless – “Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.” – 1 Timothy 6:18
- Take a treat to teachers at a local school – “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is trained will be like the teacher.” – Luke 6:40
- Drive around and look at Christmas lights – “Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalms 119:105
- Make gingerbread houses – “You are the Lightroom the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14
- Go through toys, books, and other belongings, to donate to others – “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or out of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 11 Corinthians 9:7
- Donate food and clothing – “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” – 1 Timothy 6:8
- Eat Ice cream – “His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.” – Matthew 28:3
- Enjoy a candy cane – “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalms 118:24
- Deliver treats to neighbors – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39
- Watch The Star (Movie) – “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21
- Decorate cookies for Jesus’ birthday – “For there is born you this day in the city of David a savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:11
- Give gifts to one another – “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:10-11