Hello All. It`s been so long since I`ve visited blogland. It`s good to be back. ;)
I`m sure you all are gearing up for the holidays and I just wanted to share a few things on my heart, and some of the things we will be doing as a family this year.
Several years ago, I really felt that God was calling us to stop "doing" Santa with our kids. It`s not that we wanted to take the joy, fun, or surprise out of Christmas, but we did want to get Christ back in, and this was the most obvious way to start.
We also started observing/celebrating Advent. We have a little wreath, with candles that we set out on our dining table along with some kid friendly nativity figures. (kid friendly meaning chipped;) Each night we have a little devotional and light the candle that goes with that week, until Christmas morning when we light the white candle in the middle, representing Christ. What a joy it is to build up to that morning, not only to give gifts, but to reflect on the Real reason for this season. Sweet baby Jesus who would not only choose to die for me, but A Heavenly Father willing to send that baby, His Baby. I have often thought of my own babies and wondered, could I do it for anyone, much less a filthy wretch like myself? If I am perfectly honest, my answer would be no each time. I am too selfish to risk my own pain, or the pain of my offspring, for anyone. What an amazing God we serve. This is why we as a family want to look differently than the rest of the world. This is THE reason for so many of the choices that we make throughout the year, but also and especially now, during this season of reflection, and rejoicing.
Which brings me to the next thing that we have started doing. We wanted to play down the "stuff, I want" aspect and the commercialism of this Wholly Season and one of the ways we`ve been able to do that is by making all of our gifts. This will be the first year we are going all the way, nothing bought (except a few stocking stuffers). I can not tell you how stoked I am about this. It is a wonderful way to get the children focused on others and off of themselves. It is also a great opportunity to teach them new skills, and the value of hard work.
One other quick thing, we have always limited the TV time, but now we do not allow them to watch commercials. It is a good way to help them learn to not only guard their eyes, but it helps to eliminate the coveting that tends to happen with us all. Just pay attention to the amount of toy commercials that come on during a Christmas special, it`s sickening to take advantage of younglings this way. I certainly don`t want my money going to further an industry that abuses young minds this way. I`m not saying I will never buy my kids store bought toys, but certainly not during this time of year, when it`s so... disgustingly obvious that money is the end objective. This is just not what we want our children to learn or focus on. Sweet Baby Jesus is the true gift to each of us, and I really want my children to grasp that.
And so I would just encourage each of you to take a little time with God this season and ask Him, is there some little thing, it doesn`t have to be as extreme as we are going,(this has been a gradual change for us over several years) but is there one little thing we can do to get us focused on a more biblical, slower,reflective Christmas with our families? I hope that you will share how God moves your hearts. Blessing to each of you during this exciting season-K