Enjoying a delightful anniversary celebration this week took precedence over writing an original post for today. But, several years ago I posted this on a blog I contributed to, and I thought it was appropriate to share today. It’s never too late in the season to stop and evaluate what we’re teaching others through our actions…
It’s the Christmas season! What does that mean for your family?
For so many families it means much chaos. Has the decorating been done yet? How many parties do we have this week? Shopping done yet? Are you kidding? That’s a laugh! They might not even get wrapped this year! Peace on earth, goodwill to me seems a little far-fetched sometimes, doesn’t it?
I remember as a child loving the song “Silver Bells.” It seemed to present the most idyllic and perfect Christmas scene. There was still the hustle and bustle of the season, but everything seemed peaceful somehow. Even in the middle of the push to do what needed to be done, there was still the cheer and joy of the season.
I don’t know that Christmas has ever looked like that in my memory of our society. It just doesn’t happen! Instead, we are stressed to the max trying to get everything accomplished because, after all, that’s what’s expected of us. Meanwhile, that’s what we are teaching our children as well.
I’d like to share a challenge that has been on my heart for several years. Can we choose to live out peace before our families during this season? I know, it seems a difficult thing to even consider in the midst of all of the chaos. May I share something that has really helped me?
Yes, I can almost hear the shock over cyberspace. The, “Well, of course prayer helps!” statements. But, stop and consider it with me for a minute. If you are anything like me, there are some things that you’ve never considered praying about!
Decor – have you ever considered praying over your decorations? What does your home reflect when you decorate it for Christmas? What focus does it bring to your children? Pray that the Lord will show you 1) how to decorate your home with peace and right focus in mind and 2) what decorations you might be able to pass along to someone else to promote the same focus in their own home.
Busyness and parties – we frequently hear the statement, “I just can’t do them all!” Have you thought about praying over every invitation, guiding your children to do the same with theirs, and asking the Lord to guide you to the point of knowing how to fulfill the demands placed on your time during this season?
Gifts – this has been the biggest one for me! I really hate trying to come up with what to get people. I’m not really all that good at it. But, when I pray about it, a couple of things happen. First of all, I have a renewed heart of prayer for the people I am trying to gift. Last year every time I prayed for a gift for my brother and sister-in-law, I was overwhelmingly burdened for their salvation. They were both saved this year! Can I tell you what an incredible delight it was to pray over a gift for them this year? I was reminded continually to thank the Lord for their salvation and the beauty it has brought to their lives! Secondly, the practical side of it kicks into place. I get ideas! Other times, the Lord lays on my heart to not give a gift, but another idea comes to mind that will honor that person. And, to top it all off, prayer saves us money because we are much better stewards of what He has given us to spend.
The most beautiful part of all of this is what my children are picking up. They are making comments about Christmas that make me realize they are learning what it means to have a peaceful Christmas season. I just love that! They are not starting their lives addicted to the chaos. Rather, they are learning to focus on Christ and on the beauty of joyful giving. That makes all of the struggle of changing my perspective worth every minute.
As you move through the Christmas season this year, I challenge you to consider what your children are learning from you and compare it to what God would desire that you teach them. Do they line up? Are they compatible? I pray that all of us may learn to have a peaceful Christmas season – and that the peace would spill over into every other day of our year!