Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Three Things Not To Skip This Christmas At Your House

I'll bet there are a few things you might like to leave out of your holidays this season though that may not be possible: your weird Uncle Mel's sense of humor, grandma's fruitcake, the credit card bill coming in January or figuring out whose house you'll be at and when.

And of course there are the things most families never want to lose even though they may at some point: unique traditions, opening gifts together, putting up decorations (okay most guys are thinking differently here) and lots of food.

But there are a few important elements that can get lost if we're not careful. They're not terribly involved, don't require much expense and families are usually surprised at the potential reactions they get from family members. However, the busyness of the season that we often let steal our time can keep these things as a footnote at best if present at all.

The first?  Don't skip the real Christmas story. You know the one about Jesus for whom the holiday is named. Telling it doesn't require a boring reading, however. You can act it out, have a fun discussion sometime after one of your services or read it in a new version. Every idea obviously is dependent on the ages of the children involved.

But don't think that just because it was covered in church that you've done enough. Often the church presentations get lost too in the bigness, tradition and excitement of the event. You might consider just reviewing it with each child as you tuck them in one night.

Second? Don't skip serving someone else. If Christmas is about gifts then it makes sense to bless someone else outside of our family who might not have much to get or give. Find a family or organization and build a relationship with them that you cultivate all year with the holidays just being the culmination of the past year of helping them.

So often our kids think Christmas is ultimately about them. Why?  Because we teach them that when we make gift getting the focus. Let your kids be a part of selecting who you'll help and serve and if they're old enough do some of the leg work. It will be fun and give Christmas a whole new perspective.

Finally, don't skip the thank you's.  Of course thank God that you made it together through another year. Perhaps you even went through some big challenges or losses. Even so, thank Him for walking you through and being there when you needed Him.

Also, thank the people you love and those who've blessed you in some way. They don't each need a gift other than your words of appreciation. There are scores of people in your world who would love to simply know what they did for you mattered and was noticed.

Say it, write a note, take someone out for a cup of coffee. Say thanks and "I love you" to those you are closest too. Whatever you do, don't assume that you've said it enough. You haven't most likely.

So have a great Christmas, but make it extra special by adding some things this year that might change everything and everyone - including you! Merry Christmas.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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