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Preparing Your Heart This Holiday Season

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A Heart For Home: Preparing Your Heart This Holiday Season

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Preparing Your Heart This Holiday Season

This Saturday will mark exactly eight weeks until Christmas Day! Since the holiday season is quickly approaching I thought it would be helpful to turn our attention to ways that we can truely focus on the meaning of this time of year and restfully enjoy this season with our families.

"What is Christmas? It is not a winter festival. It is not the inevitable annual energy drain. It is not a few holidays to give us a break. It is not a time to fill our children's heads with "visions of sugar plums."

Christmas is a season of holy days (the original meaning of "holidays"), filled with rich symbolism. It is a many sided object lesson using the Symbols of the Season to give us glimpses of heaven's glory. It is a time to fill our children's heads with "visions of God's incomparable Gift." Christmas is profound truth wrapped in plain packages.

What are some of these profound truths? Eternity in an infant. Heaven's bridge in a baby. The God-man in a manger. Every man's hope wrapped in homespun handiwork. Enough material for a lifetime of meditation."
(from Sondra Burnett's book Celebrate with Joy)

I'm going to repost some ideas of ways we can intentionally focus our hearts on Christ this holiday season, partly as a reminder to myself and perhaps as inspiration for you. Remember as parents we have the huge responsibility of setting the tone for our children--of how they view Christmas and the incredible gift of God's son. Preparing our hearts and leading their hearts to Christ is definitely a Finer Thing.

Here are a few ideas that we'd like to incorporate into our celebration of Christ's birth this year.

:: Daily Advent devotions through the month of December (we'll be focusing on some of the many names of Jesus)

:: Make a names of Jesus garland to go along with the name we learn about each night

:: Send out Advent cards before December 1st with a message of how Jesus is the Light of the World (the first of his names we'll be studying), a birthday candle to symbolize light, and a short description of our advent activities (I ordered blank FREE Christmas photo cards to which we'll attach a printed card stock note)

:: Make a nativity version of an Advent calendar- one new fridge magnet each day during the week leading up to Christmas (a stable, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, sheep, etc.) until Jesus arrives on Christmas day! (We'll make the magnets by attaching a set of nativity stickers to magnetic paper.) While we won't be traveling this year as planned, this activity will still be a simple and inexpensive way we can focus on Christ's birth during the week leading up to Christmas.

:: Decorate a small box to collect Christmas cards we receive from family and friends. Choose a different card each morning at breakfast (or dinner, depending on Tim's school schedule) and say a special prayer for that person or family.

:: Gather for a time of prayer on Christmas morning thanking God for sending Jesus

:: Set aside time in January for a few "thank you parties" where our family will write and address thank you cards for the gifts and kindnesses shown to us during the holidays (I already ordered some free notecards from VistaPrint with this purpose in mind. I just changed the invitation format into a Thank You card.)

~ Another way we are planing ahead for Christmas is by getting all of our handmade gifts completed by Thanksgiving. This is a frugal option for our family on many fronts, but probably most importantly is that we will be seeing family at Thanksgiving and will be able to delivery gifts early so that we don't need to pay for shipping.

~Keep an eye out for ideas for homemade gifts that we'll be posting in the next week or so.
Do you have any ideas for simplifying this holiday season? We'd love your ideas and input.
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Blogger mama hall said...

thanks for posting this! i just sent a tweet today something like "i wish *they* didn't attach stress with Christmas. Gratitude, giving, and God are NOT stress-factors!" time to get real and remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place! i pray this post reaches all the right readers!

October 28, 2010 at 7:24 PM  

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