Please welcome a kindred spirit, Sarah from Simple Life, Abundant Life. She is sharing a passion her and her husband have for being Intentional about your Christmas celebration and preparation. Just remember, baby steps are better than overwhelming your plate!
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Here are some sobering facts:
- According to businessinsider.com, the average American will spend $704.18 on Christmas this year.
- $2.6 billion dollars will be spent on wrapping paper alone worldwide this year.
- According to consumerreports.org, Americans will spend an average of 42 hours buying, wrapping, and returning gifts.
- A recent poll showed that the average family spends 36 minutes together on any given week day and a little over two hours each day on the weekends.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a change. I’m ready to return to the simplicity of the season. We’ve come a long way from the Christ-child born in a lowly manger to a multi-billion dollar holiday extravaganza. Let’s do things differently this year. Let’s make the most of Christmas. Here are three ways that my family is going to bring back simplicity and focus on our Savior this year, maybe your family would like to join us:
Re-think the Gift Giving
This year we are determined not to make gifts the centerfold of our celebration. When we do give gifts, we want them to be from the heart and to be given from the bounty of joy in our lives. We do not want to give gift out of compulsion and because ‘it’s the season to give’. One thing that we are doing this year is family gifts. Instead of getting a separate gift for each individual, we are going to do a simple gift for the whole family – maybe a game that they can all play together, or a gift card so they can all go out and enjoy a nice dinner together. Notice the theme? TOGETHER.
Also, we want to show our children how giving can be an act of worship, just as the wise men gave their gifts to Jesus as an act of worship. Therefore we are participating in things such as Operation Christmas Child where we stuff shoeboxes with gifts for kids who are living in poverty. Some other great organizations with great opportunities for worshipful giving are Angel Tree Ministries, Compassion International, Samaritans Purse, Harvest of Hope, World Vision, and Gospel for Asia. You can also find opportunities right in your neighborhood for worshipful giving – I can assure you that you won’t have to look very far to find a need that your family could help fulfill.
“…Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 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 20:26b-28
Since Christmas is celebrating the birth of Christ, wouldn’t it be fitting to celebrate with acts of service, since His whole life on earth was marked by servant-hood? We think so. There are so many different ways to serve others during this season. Sit down together as a family and come up with a plan.
Help an elderly couple clean their house, make frozen meals for the widower in your church who recently loss their spouse, offer to watch another family’s children so the parents can have some alone time together, leave an encouraging note with some home-baked cookies on all your neighbor’s doorsteps, visit a nursing home and spend some time talking with the people there. The list is endless. I guarantee you that your whole family will leave just as blessed as the person you chose to serve – maybe even more so.
Another way our family is bringing back the simplicity of Christmas is to very intentionally focus on the purpose we celebrate. Sure we often tell our kids that Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus, but our actions often show that Christmas is about celebrating us. My husband and I got so tired of all the commercialism and watering-down of Christmas that we took things into our own hands and very prayerfully wrote a Christmas devotional for families called More Than A Holiday.
We will be doing it together as a family every year to help our family stay focused on Christ. This devotional is meaty, and really delves into the history and theology of Christmas. It analyzes the characters of the Christmas story and gives you an intimate look at the miracle of Jesus’ birth.
It is full of activities to make memories and is designed to be a tool your family can use to bond and grow together. If this is something you are interested in for your family, you can purchase a PDF or print copy of this book. You can also go to morethanaholidaydevo.com for more information.
Is your family ready to make the most of Christmas this year? What steps will you be taking to make sure your family stays focused on Christ?
Sarah and her husband have been married for six years. Together they have two young boys and dream of having 10 more (OK, that might just be Sarah). Sarah used to be a special education teacher and now she stays home with her two kids where they eat lots of butter and always have something fermenting in the kitchen. Her husband is a youth pastor which keeps them busy and blessed. Join with them and be encouraged to live the abundant life God has for you as they blog all about faith, family, and real food at simplelifeabundantlife.com.
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