December has quite the ironic twist. It’s the time of year we most intend to reflect on our Savior’s birth, and yet it’s the month we have the least amount of time for reflection.
We’re already busy people, but then we somehow add massive amounts of holiday busyness. There’s Christmas decorating, Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, Christmas cookies, Christmas pictures, Christmas traditions, Christmas crafts, Christmas events, and whatever else it takes to make it the “most wonderful time of the year.”
Our endless Christmas activities are surely intended to focus on the “reason for the season,” but we all know it’s easy to lose sight of that goal. In fact, Christmas can quickly become the most stressful time of the year. And it might be the time in which we are most distracted.
So before we get too far into December, let’s aim to make Christmas the highlight of our year for the right reasons! Fun and traditions will happen, but let’s truly put our attention on the celebration of our Savior’s birth!
Here are 2 ways to help make it happen:
#1 Keep Things Simple
Some of our Christmas busyness we can’t control. There are places we need to be and things we need to do. However, some of our chaotic busyness is our own doing, and where that’s true, let’s look for ways to simplify!
What do you add to your plate that is not truly helpful? While all the traditions and activities may be great, would it be more helpful if you didn’t do ALL of them this year? Would it leave more time for you to reflect on God’s divine gift if you reduced some of the extra stuff?
If you are a mom of young ones, I imagine you are more prone to a clutter of activities. Maybe it’s your desire to make childhood Christmas memories especially wonderful. Or maybe you want to maximize all the teaching moments of the season. But know that simplicity won’t hinder those goals. In fact, Christmas with a calm and joyful mom (who’s focused on Jesus) is far more beneficial than a plethora of activities with a stressed and exhausted mom.
Keep it simple, keep your focus, and Christmas will be wonderful.
#2 Keep First Things First
Regardless of how simple you keep things, December will still be busy. If you want each day to be successful in terms of keeping your attention on Jesus, you need to daily keep your attention on Jesus. That sounds obvious, but truthfully, it’s hard to do! When our lives are overflowing with tasks, it feels like quiet moments of reflection are the most optional item on our to-do list.
But we need to commit to daily maintaining our focus. We need to renew our desire to give God the attention he is worthy of. Basically, we need to do whatever it takes to spend daily time reading God’s word, daily time talking to him in prayer, and daily time focusing on him. Wake up earlier, stay up later, or resolve to stop at some point in the day, put all things aside, and give God your attention.
One practical suggestion would be to “switch up” your devotion time a little during the holiday season. Maybe you can add a Christmas devotional or advent calendar. You could re-listen to past Christmas sermons and spend time journaling afterward. You could pray through a Christmas hymn. Instead of struggling to keep your regular “quiet time” routines because of Christmas, maybe you can turn Christmas into a catalyst for better quiet times!
But even if your devotion time remains basic and routine-like, don’t embody the irony of Christmas: a Christian who is celebrating Christ, but is too busy to focus on Christ.
Make Christmas Wonderful!
Surely our December days will still be long and full for the next few weeks. But if we made sure we were only picking the best things to spend time on, and not allowing the excess to overwhelm us, we would finish the month with no regret.
More importantly, if we give God our best every day, and didn’t let time with him go to the wayside, we would finish the month strong, with our focus in the right place! Because regardless of what didn’t happen, the most important thing did happen: we spent time thanking God for sending his Son to earth (and that is what Christmas is all about!).
Don’t let today go by without making any necessary plans for simplification, and above all, make sure to keep first things first! With these 2 things in place, Christmas is bound to be the most wonderful time of the year!