There is a continual tug as a parent to be pulled away from the real focus of Christmas. With every commercial, sale and new gadget, my attention is beckoned to go in a direction that has nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas, and my kids will gladly follow me down this path. The lights, the toys, the songs, the parties, the food, while all these things can be associated with Christmas, they’re not why we celebrate Christmas. As a dad, I must relentlessly re-prioritize my family’s attention around the one thing that matters most about Christmas, the remembrance and celebration of our Savior’s birth.
This year I am determined to keep Jesus at the heart of everything we do during this wonderful Season of hope and love. Yet, if you’re like me, a resolution without a dedicated plan is likely just wishful thinking. The old adage is so true. Fail to plan and you plan to fail.
This week I’m sitting down with my family and making some Christ-centered Christmas plans. One of the ideas we have is to prepare small but meaningful gift baskets that include booklets of the Gospel of John (ptl.org). Like most cities, we have our share of people in need that can always use a little encouragement and the Good News. What better time to share God’s blessings along with the greatest gift known to man than Christmas time. This year I want our Christmas to be missional as we seek to celebrate the birth of Christ both upward and outward. We’ll also be “sacrificing” some gifts to allow us to give to others that really have some needs (visit our Families Helping Families Christmas Campaign). The Christmas Season is truly a great time for our kids to see us put into action the biblical teaching that it is better to give than receive.
As a Christian parent/dad, it is my responsibility to keep the focus of Christ in Christmas. I need to continually re-prioritize Christmas to ensure that I don’t lose sight of what matters most and miss out on a great opportunity to further cultivate my children’s hearts for Jesus as well as sharing the awesome message of Christmas with others.
For me, this translates into 4 Priorities for Christmas:
1. Keep things simple (don’t over schedule events)
2. Read through a daily Advent Devotional & Calendar
3. Plan on doing some special things for others (with my family)
4. Take time off to spend with family and friends reading Scripture and singing Christmas Carols that uplift the birth of our Savior
These are pretty basic ideas. Yet, they are good reminders for me not to get too caught up in the Season of Christmas that we miss the Reason of Christmas. As my father always told me: “Make sure the basics are getting covered.” While he may have been talking about sports at that time, I believe his advice has universal application. As I often share with my children (young and old), the two most important things in life, i.e. the basics, are: 1- To love God and 2- to love others. In a way, this is why Jesus came on Christmas, and this is the message I want my family and others to experience.
My family gets tired of hearing this from me, but it needs to asked on a regular basis, “If we’re not taking care of the most important thing, why are we so busy with everything else?” I pray you will join me in this pursuit.