I love Christmas time. This is a significant change in my life. I used to work at Long’s Drug where I was bombarded with all things Christmas from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve and I grew to resent all the things that surrounded Christmas.
Over the last several years though I have begun to appreciate Christmas in a whole new way. Several things have gone into this.
1) Having kids. Christmas is better when you have kids of your own. Their joy is contagious. The opportunities to build new traditions with them, the times we get to talk about Jesus, the time with extended family. All of these things are better with kids around.
2) Simplifying Christmas gift giving. Instead of having to buy gifts for everyone in our extended family we have been doing the whole name exchange thing where you draw a name and buy a gift for one person. It’s pretty awesome. Takes the pressure off financially, in regards to time spent shopping, and eliminates the pressure of finding “the perfect gift” because most of the time people are really happy with a gift card.
3) Christmas Missions Offering. Because we have simplified how much we spend on gifts we are able to be more generous with our Christmas Missions Offering. But Every year I am amazed by what God does through Creekside Church as we keep reaching after big goals that he puts on our heart and we get to see lives changed as we give our resources to helping people discover, trust and love Jesus Christ across the street and around the world. Awesome! When we take our eyes off of our selves and what we can get, and focus on Jesus and what he wants us to do Christmas gets way better.
4) Anticipation Activities. During December over the last several years I have been in the habit of watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Extended Edition). These movies came out in December and have always been find with getting me personally ready for Christmas. This year though I created a Christmas Movie Film Festival (Or Advent Calendar). Every night from Thanksgiving to Christmas we are going to be watching a different movie that is about Christmas, or takes place around Christmas time, i.e. Die Hard. It has been pretty fun so far. There are some movies to watch with the kids, some movies for grown ups. And instead of just watching boring television we can give a purpose to what we are doing and build anticipation around Christmas. Fun!
I’m writing this because I want to encourage you to not let Christmas just come and go and be filled with busy-ness. Simplify, slow down, enjoy Christmas for what it is and do what you can to build anticipation and have fun as Christmas gets closer.