Are you avoiding Christmas this year because you aren’t in the mood? Is busyness or financial troubles making Christmas seem like too much of a hassle? I have a friend who doesn’t decorate for Christmas because she feels there is no one to enjoy it. The kids have all left home, and her husband has passed away. Another friend just isn’t in the mood for Christmas and plans to ignore it this year.
I can relate to sorrow invading the Christmas season, limiting our joy. I lost my mother a week before Christmas a few years ago, and it was a very sad time. The Christmas gathering at my house gets smaller every year as the kids marry and get involved in their extended families. Loneliness, sorrow, and depression are all valid feelings. Don’t ignore them during the holidays. But Christmas shouldn’t be ignored either.
Christmas isn’t about us. It is about celebrating the coming of our King to planet earth–God becoming man. We call this season Advent, which means “arrival.” Christmas sets us up for the Christian’s main celebration of Easter–the death, burial, and resurrection of this God Man so that our sins could be forgiven. Without Christmas, there would be no Easter. In my book, celebrating Christmas is a form of worship.
Are you avoiding Christmas this year? Too busy? Financially strapped? Have sorrow, loneliness, or depression robbed you of the opportunity to worship the King?
Here are five tips for how to celebrate Christmas when you’re not in the mood:
1. Get yourself over to a senior citizen facility and ask the receptionist for the names and room numbers of those who have no family in the area to visit them. Then visit each senior and listen to their stories, pray with them, and leave a Christmas card or plate of cookies. If you have children still at home, get them involved in the baking and visiting.
2. Give a gift of value to those you love–a heart felt letter of appreciation for how their lives have touched yours, a pretty plate that belonged to your grandmother, a box of family recipes you’ve copied, or that set of teacups that are gathering dust in the china cabinet. Don’t leave these things until you are too old to enjoy giving them away.
3. Plan a day to make Christmas crafts or cookies with your kids, grandkids, or some of the children from the church whose mother works and has little time for this kind of special activity. Play Christmas music, serve hot chocolate, and share with the children your memories of Christmas and how Jesus has impacted your life. Let them tell you their stories of Jesus.
4. Call your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen and find out what they need during December. Choose one avenue to help serve those less fortunate than you. Then do it.
5. Create a Jessie Tree with your grandkids. For many years, our family has enjoyed the story of the coming of the Messiah as a December daily devotional. The kids enjoy putting the symbols of each Old Testament promise on the special tree as we slowly work our way up to December 25th, the day of the birth of the King. We use a traditional small fir tree, but my friend Vickie always finds a bare branch that she sprays white and sets in a weighted pot for her family’s Jessie Tree. Even though the kids have all left home, Vickie and Dave still celebrate Advent with their Jessie Tree.
What have you found helpful in keeping Christmas as a time of worship to our King? What brings Advent alive for you? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Susan Gaddis, Helping you build your spiritual legacy
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