With only 43 days to go until Christmas, the signs and scents of the Season are emerging—songs on the radio, decorations in stores…and including my favourite—seasonal Christmas drinks. These things can stir excitement and anticipation for the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but as we near the Christmas Season, we can be easily distracted and miss the point of the celebration.
There are words in a familiar Christmas song that help me consider this–“Let Every Heart, Prepare Him Room.” Preparing for Christmas can be so much fun and yet can cause so much stress! Whether it be shopping to prepare a nice meal, buying gifts for friends and family, or decorating our homes–the responsibilities can get the best of us.
Preparing our hearts is the biggest challenge of all! A prepared heart helps us stay centered on the reality of the season and helps us navigate the stressful challenges that the Advent season can bring. Here are a few ideas that I hope will help us prepare for the Christmas season so that we can truly appreciate the greatest gift God has given us–His Son.
Paying for Christmas with cash vs. credit is just a good idea. Debt is a problem that creates stress on relationships and takes its toll on our personal health. One way to help pay with cash is to set a budget and discipline yourself to live within it. Here is a spread sheet you can use for your family to budget this Christmas!
The Christmas season can be very hard on relationships – especially marriages! Unfortunately, the most common time for couples to file for a divorce is early January. It appears that December is a tipping point that is accentuated by stress. Do whatever it takes to stay connected relationally this year and don’t allow stress to mess things up! Taking time for a date night or two throughout Advent will help spice things up and keep your marriage relationship current.
Next week (November 18) you will learn of some great opportunities to put the under-resourced in your budget again this Christmas. Our family always sets aside some money from our Christmas budget to give to others secretly or through Christmas at King. This is a great way to help keep compassion rather than consumption alive and well this Christmas! Stay tuned for more info about Christmas @ King.
With the four weeks of Advent beginning soon, we can also prepare our hearts by being purposeful about setting aside time to read Scripture. www.youversion.com makes it easy for us to follow a plan. Some of the reading plans they offer include, “Rediscovering the Christmas Season, Countdown to Christmas, She Reads Truth: Advent, Waiting Here for You – an Advent of Journey and Hope” and there are so many more you can pick from.
Let’s keep reading and relating this Christmas!
Written by Pia Larmour