When preparing a meal, one does not simply just throw in all your veggies, unwashed or unpeeled or whole. You take time to carefully wash, peel and chop your veggies according to what you’re planning on making. It takes preparation. Almost everything you do takes preparation, for example… going to school/work/college each day; or making coffee, or taking a shower, or going to the shops. So many daily tasks take preparation. Now with Christmas around the corner, should we not be getting prepared for the most important day on a Christian’s calendar? We should be preparing our hearts and those of our loved ones.
Christmas is 29 days away and I can see how everyone that I know is just trying to make it through each day. There really isn’t much Christmas spirit going around this year. Granted we have all had a difficult 2020 and I’m sure if you speak to anyone you know or don’t even know they will tell you how hard this year has been for them. However we have an opportunity to change things around and what better time to do that than the festive season.
Each year on the 17th of November for as long as I can remember we have put our Christmas tree up. I used to ask my mom as a child why the 17th of November and she would simply reply “its tradition”. I never questioned my mom and this year on the 17th my daughter asked me the same question and I replied “its tradition”, without putting much thought in my answer at all. Hopefully 20 years from now my kids won’t use the same answer my mom and I have been using all this time. My answer to my daughter should have been that it’s to prepare us for the upcoming season. I don’t know about you, but my December is always busy and now with a new addition to our family…our precious baby girl Ella Hope, I’m sure this December is going to be much busier than all my years as a parent. So setting up the Christmas tree halfway through November just makes sense, it gives us ample time to slow down and actually take in what Christmas is all about.
Can I encourage you to prepare your hearts for Christmas? It’s not costly at all and by doing small significant things you will shape the way your family spends Christmas for generations to come.
Here are some ways that I am trying to prepare myself and my family for Christmas…
- Put your Christmas tree up, try and get the whole family involved. I had my kids running around with the mistletoe trying to kiss each other, it was precious to watch and their loud laughter brought me so much joy.
- Pump the Christmas music, whether it’s an old Boney M CD you have lying in your cupboard from 20 years ago, or a playlist on Spotify, put it on, sing along and watch how the mood just changes. My kids love to sing along to Feliz Navidad, even though they have no clue how the song goes.
- Each day read a bible verse about the life of Jesus. YouVersion has many bible devotions you can do that will lead you up until the day of Christmas. It prepares your heart in a way that will change your perspective on Christmas.
- Count down the days until Christmas. My 8 year old daughter made her own little calendar to count down the days till Christmas, each morning it’s the 1st thing she tells me. I even get excited each day for her to come running in my room and tell me how many days left.
- According to my kids, one of the things I need to do to help bring on Christmas spirit is to bake cookies, I despise baking but if it helps the kiddies and my family to get all Christmassy I guess I’m gonna be a bakin’.
- The Apostle Paul got me thinking this week; in Acts 20:35b it says, “And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Work hard, be an example and give…give…give! Christmas is the season of giving. Again, this doesn’t even have to cost you money, give of your time, give a smile, send a message of encouragement to those who need it, phone a loved one you haven’t spoken to for a while.
- Be Jolly! See what I did there 😉 Every morning when we wake up we have a choice, we can choose to let out circumstances get us down and walk around like the Grinch all day long, or we can be jolly, put a smile on our face and walk around with pure joy in our hearts. Can you imagine how different you would be in 29 days if you choose to be full of joy each day? The choice is always yours!
- Spend time with your family, intentionally! So often spending time with your loved ones can become so mundane and our family members sense it, however it doesn’t have to be that way. Find ways to spend time together. One of my favourite ways is to reminisce about our childhood with my brothers, goodness we can spend hours laughing and recalling the ‘good old days’, my children love it when we speak about our childhood, it’s like it awakens something in them.
- If your kids still believe in Santa, write letters to him. My kids unfortunately busted us this year with the tooth fairy and we were called out on being Santa too, but that didn’t stop my daughter from asking me if she could still write a letter and if I would still reply as Santa in a letter addressed back to her and magically place it in the barren fireplace with all the magical glitter Santa leaves behind.
- Watch Christmas movies together. This is one of my favourites, I always feel so full of love after watching these movies, and it really gets me into the Christmas spirit.
- Take a drive around your neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights, I love the time we get to spend together in the car marvelled by the beauty of Christmas lights.
There are so many ways to get yourself and your family prepared for this festive season. I just want to encourage you to make a big deal about it, I mean we are getting ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ…Saviour of mankind.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what’s under the tree, rather who’s around the tree. My favourite quote is presence over presents!
What are some of your Christmas traditions that you and your family have, share them in the comments?