It’s the beginning of December and you realize that you still haven’t bought a thing…except for maybe a strand of lights to replace some old, worn-out ones. Your mind turns almost into panic mode because there’s so much to do, and so little time left to do it!
The question is, though, why? Why do we have so much to do? What is it that we are trying to accomplish with all the hustle and bustle?
We have allowed our Christmases to be hijacked by our culture.
Unintentionally, we have hiked our skirts so to speak and run headlong with our culture, chasing joy and happiness in all the things we can buy.
Let’s be honest, pretty red bows and fragrant evergreens draped with twinkle lights just kind of speak to us. They do to me anyway. I’m like Kevin in Home Alone: I love Christmas trees! That being said, I’m tired of what Christmas has become.
What if we could just let Christmas be Christmas?
What would that look like? What if we had a good old-fashioned Christmas pageant, ate together, soaked in the sights and smells, told stories of days gone by, and shared the greatest Gift [Jesus] with one another?
I’m not suggesting that we stop with our traditions or the giving of gifts. What I’m suggesting is that we stop the hurry and rush, and instead embrace the walk to Bethlehem.
How can we let Christmas just be Christmas?
Most importantly, we need to get to the place that we realize this whole gift buying frenzy is a trap. Kids don’t need 100 gifts under the tree. Here’s a secret: they don’t even need $100 worth of stuff under the tree. We are living proof!
The year after I decided to come home to homeschool our kids, we were broker than broke. Honestly, we didn’t know what we would do, and I literally prayed that all of the last year’s twinkle lights would work. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we had $20 to spend on each kid–we had 3 at the time. What God did was amazing! A dear man and his wife approached me at church one evening. He place a $100 bill in my hand and told me to “buy them kids something for Christmas.” My eyes still get all watery thinking about that moment and this couple’s tender ways. That year was by far one of our best Christmases!
What made it so special? We didn’t have anything, but we really didn’t need anything either. What we did want, though, was to more than ever focus on Jesus.
We did our first ever Jesse Tree, and we hand-made each ornament for it. If you have never heard of a Jesse Tree, I highly recommend it for Advent. Most kits come with ready made paper ornaments, and you can find free devotions and craft instructions just like this one. Don’t forget, though, that Advent starts tomorrow (Dec. 1), so either download and print a Jesse Tree devotional today or order and double up once it comes in the mail.
It was also the first year we read Jotham’s Journey. Since that first year, we have read all of the books in the series and will be starting back with Jotham this year. It’s an amazing story of the journey of a little boy, as he finds his way to the Christ child though he didn’t even know he was looking.
We did things that cost us nothing. Things like looking at Christmas lights in our town, enjoying Christmas music, having our family over for fellowship and fun, making a popcorn garland, sipping hot chocolate while we watched favorite Christmas movies, and reading books we already had–ones that we’d forgotten about. Even Jotham’s Journey was a book we borrowed from friends because that year, we just didn’t have the extra money to spend.
|When reading Ytreeide Advent stories, you don’t have to use the Advent candles like the book suggests. There have been times when we did and times when we didn’t. And honestly, with little ones, I’d skip it. Along those same lines, you might want to have some kind of coloring activity–like this one–ready.|
We might have been at the lowest financial point in our lives, but it was also the first year we refused to use a credit card no matter what. And ya’ll, the no matter what proved to be the sweetest of Christmases! That year taught me that I do not need get caught up in all the things “Christmas” to be blessed and joyful during this season. When we focused on what we did have, and not what we didn’t have, our perspective totally shifted, and the result? An amazingly blessed, Christ-centered Christmas!
Can Christmas just be Christmas? Can we let our skirts down and walk back to the place where our heart is? Can we go back to a place of simple pleasure and joy and leave the crazy and the hustle behind? Sure we can, and as we do, we can let our hair down, too, and just enjoy Christmas.
Join me next week for another Holidays Made Simple post. I’ll be sharing what we do about gifts and how we control the gift frenzy!