How many times over the years have I read that passage of scripture and just continued on, never stopping to think about the reality of those words? The reality that God came to this earth as a precious baby, fully man, yet fully God. It is an incredible gift to all and worthy of reflection — something to ponder.
I recently heard my friend Alexandra Kuykendall speak at a MOPS event and what she shared that morning inspired me to look at the Christmas season with fresh eyes. Eyes that look toward the heavens with thankfulness for the birth of our Savior.
In the rush that is typical of the holiday season, I admit I can easily be consumed by my efforts to create “the perfect Christmas” for everyone. I miss the moments of advent to ponder and give thanks to the Lord for his goodness.
The decorations, the shopping and gifts, the parties, the baking, Christmas cards, family traditions and scheduling time with friends can overwhelm us all if we don’t view this special time of year with the proper perspective.
Alexandra challenged me that morning to love my actual Christmas and not yearn for the perfect unrealistic one that dances in my head like visions of sugar plums.
Easier said than done, right?
My pondering has launched many discussions with friends and family about how we can enjoy our Christmas time together and not put unrealistic expectations on each other or on ourselves and ways that we can focus on Jesus during this busy but wonderful time of year.
Here are three things we decided to do:
- Choose an advent devotional and take the time each day to be in God’s word. Reading and reflecting on the Christmas story with our families.
- Don’t over schedule ourselves or our kids this December. Choose wisely the events and obligations that you can realistically handle without stretching everyone to their limit.
- Focus on spending quality time with our loved ones and creating memories and traditions that will be worthy of passing down.
I asked my adult kids what were their favorite Christmas memories. They answered, “The simple things that we do. Baking together, riding around town looking at lights, attending the Christmas Eve service, watching Christmas movies, and just making time to spend together. “
Keeping Christmas meaningful does not have to be so complicated.
When we un-complicate Christmas we can have time to ponder the true meaning of the season – Jesus.
Even Mary took the time to ponder as we are told in the book of Luke…
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
It is my prayer for you that you won’t be so busy this holiday season that you trip over the manger in your rush to create Christmas and never actually see Jesus. Christmas was created for us long ago, the gift of our Savior – may you ponder that in your heart.
By Sherri Crandall
Wife to Rusty, Mom of 4
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Associate Director of Women’s Ministry at Mission Hills Church