Life with little ones is always exciting! Mix in sugar, parties, presents and what do you get? Usually a headache! Are you the parent of a small person, asking yourself “how am I going make it through Christmas?”
How did Mark and I survive those early years? As I recall it was a team effort requiring lots of planning ahead. But I think the real key to Holiday Survival is simplicity. Remember, the original Christmas was the “simple” birth of a baby. There was no mall full of Christmas themed “stuff” to buy or food to prepare, no lights on indoor evergreens or outdoor ones either. There was just a young family with a new baby in a cold stable.
Let me encourage you to get back to the basics with your family. Have fun playing with your nativity set, marching Mary on the donkey over to the stable to have the baby. Let the baby carry around the sheep, and hide the angel. Tell the story over and over to little ones who can be distracted.
Give simple gifts. The size or cost of a gift is not the measure of your esteem for the recipient. The shepherds and wise men all brought what they had. The wise men brought money, incense (smelly stable, remember) and spices. The shepherds brought simple praise and adoration. All of their gifts were acceptable to God because they were given with hearts intent on blessing.
Take a deep breath and decide what are the truly important things, then let the others go! A simple Christmas will help create a quality Christmas experience. Try letting the color coordinated perfection of your Christmas portrait go. Take the picture but remember that your children will not remember if your tree had the ‘right look’ or you baked picture perfect cookies from scratch. What do you want your children to take away from your Christmas celebration? Make this Christmas about the baby – Jesus Christ, Emmanuel –God with us!
Merry Christmas, Ellen Strohm