This year, avoid a hectic holiday season and intentionally choose to create a Christ-centered Christmas.
The Advent season is finally here! But have you felt the pull away from a focus on Christ?
I’ve noticed it, from the wrapping paper in stores in October, to the week of Black Friday sales (Buy more! Buy more! Buy more!), to the half a dozen radio stations playing non-stop holiday music all about Santa babies, Blue Christmases and how cold it is outside.
Don’t get me wrong, all of those things are fun. And they really help set the stage for a festive Christmas.
But Christmas is SO.MUCH.MORE.
The Desperate Need to Refocus
If we focus on the fluff that society shoves down our throats each December, Christmas is going to feel like a stressful series of events to endure.
When we change our focus, though, and choose to remember and celebrate the reason for Christmas – God as a baby! God with us! God’s Son in the flesh sent as a gift of love for all who believe! – Christmas ceases to be a greed-filled gauntlet of parties and shopping trips. Christmas becomes a celebration of a gift we so desperately need.
4 Ways to Create a Christ-Centered Christmas
So how do we create a Christ-centered Christmas when every commercial screams that we NEED a new diamond ring/car/smart phone/fill-in-the-blank?
1. We need to make the choice.
Once we choose to focus on Christ this Christmas season, it will help make other decisions easier.
Will a certain purchase bring others closer to Christ? Will a certain party or event draw you closer to Christ? Or will these things pull you farther away?
While you can’t necessarily avoid every thing that strays from a focus on Christ – and you may not want to – you can certainly make wiser, Christ-centered choices. Don’t be afraid to say no to what you know you should. Don’t give in just to appease someone else.
2. We need to find ways to shift our focus to Christ.
I’m not advocating cramming your schedule with more things to do.
But we need to make sure we’re digging into the Word each and every day. Camp out in the first two chapters of Matthew and the first two chapters of Luke. Or, focus on a different description and name of Christ every day.
This year, I’m digging into my friend Asheritah Ciuciu’s beautiful book, Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional. I love the way it helps refocus me each day … and this season.
If you have children, be intentional with your time as a family. You can choose to study the nativity or the names of Christ during nightly family devotions. Or, read a chapter of The Jesus Storybook Bible each day in December.
You could also make Christmas ornaments as crafts to reinforce what you’re learning together. (The Truth In the Tinsel give excellent suggestions and guidance. This year my daughter’s working through the crafts and devotions every day this month.)
One way my family focuses on the story of Christ’s birth each week is to celebrate Advent together. Each Sunday night, we add a new figure to our nativity scene, light Advent candles, read Scripture, sing a carol together, and pray. (You can Google family Advent readings for ideas.)
We’ve tried this each Christmas since our oldest child was 1 year old, and even though our toddlers didn’t always grasp what we were talking about, they still loved the time as a family and were fascinated by the candlelight and nativity scene.
At times, it felt ridiculous since they couldn’t comprehend the Scriptures we read. But we kept at it every Sunday night anyway, to create a family tradition. And in those early years, we used the plastic Fisher-Price Little People nativity scene when they were too young to handle our ceramic nativity scene.
Now that they’re old enough to understand and remember our tradition, they cheer that it’s time to celebrate Advent again.
3. Focus on Christ by finding ways to love and serve others.
By helping the sick, elderly, or less fortunate in December with volunteering, visits, or tangible gifts, you can help take the focus off yourself and bless others in the process. (Don’t forget to keep loving and serving long after Christmas is over.)
This will take some planning as you set aside time to actually love others. But think of it as a gift of time as well as a gift of yourself.
This definitely is a more sacrificial gift than just picking out a gift at the store. But along with your sacrifice, your recipients will actually appreciate it more.
4. Remember that what you surround yourself with, your focus will follow.
When you immerse yourself in the consumerism that seeks to fill our every thought, you will want to buy more. Even if you don’t need or truly want what’s advertised.
Case in point: Every December I start to think about how romantic diamond jewelry is. I know I wouldn’t wear it very often, and I know I don’t truly want it. I know it’s far more romantic for my husband to make breakfast for our family every single Saturday and Sunday morning.
But the jewelry commercials are so slick, they tempt me into thinking new jewelry would bring me joy. Even when I know it, in fact, wouldn’t.
If you have children, you already know how quickly they can memorize commercials even after a single visit to their grandparents’ house. (When they’re only allowed PBS and videos at home, it’s easy to track exposure to commercials!) You also know how easily they can be convinced they need – absolutely need – whatever’s advertised.
The easiest way to not cave in to temptation is to avoid it. So if you know you’re stumbling into wanting what you don’t need at Christmas, or if you’re obsessing about gifts and parties and food and clothing, put an end to it. Turn off the TV – or radio. Stop shopping online on a whim. Quit stalking Pinterest for ideas.
Instead, choose what you’d like to focus on – and focus on it. It’s that simple and that difficult.
This Advent season, know that there’s a pull away from a focus on Christ. Decide to resist this and do all you can to embrace Him and celebrate the good news of His birth.
What helps you create a Christ-centered Christmas? What are some of your family’s favorite ways to focus on Christ at this time of the year?
Disclosure: This post originally was published in November 2015. Links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that, at no added cost to you, I may make a commission on products purchased through these links. Thank you for supporting this website!
All images courtesy of Pexels and Kaboompics.