My wife gets serious about Christmas. So serious that we built a shed in the backyard to store her accumulated wealth of Christmas decorations—indoor and outdoor. Last week the inevitable moment came when Terrie asked me to pull the decorations out and help her begin the annual launch of the season with these treasures.
Silencing my inward groans, I began pulling boxes and crates and wreaths and garlands and lights and more out for Terrie to sort into which direction I would carry them next. In one of my trips out of the shed with an armload of decorations, I looked over at Terrie. She was radiant.
And then I remembered—Christmas is a joy, not a burden!
I’m not sure that I’ll ever develop a delight for unpacking Christmas decorations, but I do want to always savor this season and remember its focus.
How can you make this wonderful time of the year actually wonderful? Here are seven quick tips:
- Enjoy the season. You never know how many Christmases you or any other family member have, so enjoy it. Decorate, sing, make memories. Don’t bemoan the holiday; celebrate Jesus’ birthday.
- Give to the Lord. Remember, it’s His birthday. See Christmas as a reminder to finish your year end giving strong in your local church. Additionally, look for others to be a blessing to—perhaps a young couple who is struggling financially, a widow who misses the man she used to share Christmas with, or a neighbor who could use a fresh apple pie and message of Jesus’ love. Even if you don’t have much, give anyway. It will bless you, and it will bless someone else.
- Involve yourself in ministry. Jump in somewhere in serving. Perhaps help set up the Christmas décor at church or sing in the choir’s Christmas musical (if you can sing!). Don’t miss the opportunity to serve the Lord.
- Share the Gospel. People are more tender and receptive at Christmastime than at any other time of the year. Carry Gospel tracts and keep them handy to pass out as you do your Christmas shopping. Make a special point to witness to your friends, neighbors, and those with whom you regularly do business. Join your church in special Christmas outreach.
- Avoid debt. Many people, particularly young adults and newlyweds, feel they have to buy the appreciation of relatives. Don’t believe this lie, and don’t get into the treadmill of thinking that you have to prove your self-worth by giving the most expensive gifts. It’s not worth the debt, and frankly, it doesn’t work anyway. Love your family, and give to show it. But give within your means.
- Make family memories. Celebrate traditions, and create new ones. Spend time together. Laugh. Love. Take pictures. Treasure each other. Believe me, years later you’ll be thankful you did. (Hint to husbands: Listen to your wife on this one. I’m so thankful I did!)
- Take time to pray and plan for the new year. New year planning doesn’t have to be left until 10:00 p.m. on December 31! Start now jotting down thoughts and goals for next year, and ask your spouse and children to do the same. Plan some time near the end of December to crystalize your goals into a plan for next year.