Christmas time is such a magical time of year. But without real Christmas joy, the season can become just a lot of activity that drains our hearts and home.
In fact our minds can get so focused on the swirling activity around us that we ourselves start feeling out of control. The busy-ness actually steals our Christmas joy.
To really enjoy the gift of Christmas, I’ve learned that I need to not get caught up in the moment, but rather I need to make up my mind ahead of time with a plan.
I need to decide that we’re going to be intentional with Christmas joy this season, rather than entertain the feeling of overwhelm.
What does that look like? From a practical perspective, it means we do a few things differently.
Christmas Joy in the Ordinary
For us, doing things differently is living with purpose and a plan. This plays such a critical role in being successful at enjoying Christmas.
In particular, we try to create a legacy for our family in everything that we do. We’re firm believers that if you don’t have a plan for your life—someone else will.
After all, God has a plan. Just as we are made in His image, the best gift we can give our family is to say, “I have a plan for you“.
Our lives should focus on what matters most, and we are working to do this by everything that we think, do, and say. And to have our home full of Christmas joy—here are 8 things that we are doing.
8 Ways Christmas Joy Can Fill Your Heart and Home
1. Put Away Elf on the Shelf
Instead of elf on the shelf, we are placing the star from our nativity on the wall, then we have our son find it, then he moves the wise men to that spot. Once Christmas day comes, the wise man and the star will find their place in our nativity.
2. Read different portions of scripture.
We read portions of scripture that tell the Christmas story. We use portions of stories from The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories and our own bibles.
3. Read a book to prepare your little one for Christmas.
Sebastian’s December book is Glenys Nellist’s book, Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories. This book has become a favorite for me.
There are simple poems and open–the–flap personal love letters from God that your son can actually flip open!
The book draws upon all aspects of a child’s learning—imagination and wonder, it incorporates scripture in a simple and easy to understand format, and it has a personal element to engage the heart and hands of your little one. **I highly recommend this for the Christmas season**
4. Take ordinary moments to cultivate wonder.
We take what seems like ordinary moments, and instead use them as ways to cultivate wonder in our son.
Like the other day, we were helping with laying down straw in the bull shed. Oh the benefits of living on a farm!
I took the moment to ask Sebastian, “Do you think this is how Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus felt?”
Even though he is only two years old, I’m beginning to help him to see things beyond just tasks because there is more to the story than just a baby born in a stable.
5. Ask how the gifts you give can create a memory filled with Christmas joy.
When purchasing our gifts, we think purposefully. We literally ask the question, “How can this gift create a memory or a moment, rather than just be a check mark on a kid’s wish list?”
6. Recognize what you have, not what you don’t.
This is a hard one, for sure. It has been challenging this year for me in so many ways. Especially as we wait for our new home, my heart has been tuned to be so grateful for a place that we can actually call home.
7. Plan moments to rest.
I enjoyed having a couple of moments this past week where I just allowed myself to be present. These moments were planned.
It was so peaceful and free–ing to just sip a cup of coffee.
I was just resting, without thinking about where I should be or what I wanted to be doing. And I didn’t worry what is on my list of things to get done for the day. I allowed my mind to be at peace.
8. Be honest with your heart.
Just a few days ago, I was reading to Sebastian when I surprised myself with a question. I showed Sebastian the wise men and then I asked,
“What do you want to give Jesus for His birthday?”
Talk about being hit with your own words!
What do I want to give Jesus for His birthday? I don’t think I’ve even asked myself this question before now.
In the moment, my thoughts reminded me of a time when I really didn’t like Christmas.
For years I dreaded this time of year.
My birthday falls just two days before Christmas, and although I always had cake and presents, I often would feel like an afterthought.
While the world was busy hustling and bustling about I was wanting to be noticed and celebrated.
Just like all of those years ago when I wanted others to notice and celebrate me—Jesus wants the same thing.
He doesn’t want to be an afterthought.
Jesus Christmas wish? He wants my full attention.
The Key to Christmas Joy
Stress can sneak up on us so easily during this most wonderful time of year. But I am so grateful that God is patient and purposeful to show me the key to Christmas joy.
Through my own journey of parenting, He’s taught me time and again that it’s not about all the activity. The gifts. the parties, the plays, and the goodies are part of the celebration.
But True Christmas joy is only found when God has our full attention.
How is your Christmas Joy?
So how about you? Are you feeling tension or anxiety creeping in? Have you lost your joyful Christmas Spirit? Where is your heart this Christmas? Have you ever thought about maybe what gift you would give Jesus?