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Last year Thanksgiving fell earlier in November and it provided a whole week an “extra” week before December 1 came. This year, December 1 came the Sunday after Thanksgiving, yikes. This year I have felt the crunch and have had to be diligent to keep schedules straight and goals on task. When schedules get compacted it is tempting for me to fall into sinful attitudes and lose sight of the end goal. During Christmas time there are many things to be excited about, prepare for, and attend. Especially with the kids, I want them to experience the JOY, THRILL and EXCITEMENT of celebrating the birth of Christ. On the same token it is important for me to point them to the supernatural example of Christ’s humility, peace, submission, service and order of His arrival. This year more than ever I am savoring the times of peace and reflection that this season provides for our family of 4.

Be encouraged by this simple list of how I am trying to keep a healthy balance this Christmas time and the heart response that I am constantly telling myself:

We have a tree! It is on the back porch with lights and will get more decorations soon. JOY that the kids can see it but not get to it. 

We saw a Christmas Parade at Disneyland! THRILL and EXCITEMENT!

Madeline plays with baby Jesus and sings silent night to Him. Simple Peace.

The advent book is still packed away. Scripture is all I need to feed and prepare the hearts of our family.

The Messiah plays nonstop in our home. The reminder of the perfect order of fulfilled prophecy of Christ. 

The amazing candle that is burning in our home. A reminder of how my prayers rise like incense and are pleasing to the Lord.

The one nativity I have up is a candle set. A reminder that Mary too had a humble, simple dwelling place to welcome the KING. 

FULL schedule and complicated balance. Christ came to serve and joyfully committed His entire LIFE to service.

The week of December 16 is COMPLETELY open. Anticipation of coming peace in schedules and CHRIST!

A special Teddy Bear Tea outing with the girls in the family. I need to be praying for my children as they grow, they have MANY things to grow in and learn. So do I. Christ is patient with me and is diligent to teach me and provide clear consistent examples in Scripture. Even if Madeline looks fancy and dressed up on the outside, Christ sees her heart, is it just as adorned with beautiful things? The outside is a reflection of the inside. As her mother I need to continue to be diligent to teach her.

There is no Christmas Decor up in our house yet. Christ would rather see my well adorned and prepared HEART.

Yummy Christmas Treats. Savor Christ and know his goodness.

Sweet times with Friends and Family. Praise the LORD that He created us to be in relationship and that He is the perfect example of being in good relationships.

It is so easy to rush through this time and look back and only have blurred memories, superficial traditions and missed opportunities. My desire is that Madeline and Cole will see peace in our home this Christmas, they will experience new joy and excitement that this season brings, they will rejoice for the good gift of Christ, and that they will be drawn to Him and be overcome with their need for a Savior and understand WHY He came.  It can be hard to keep Christ central at Christmas and is a constant struggle for me. Keeping things simple this year has really helped and been a good time for reflection. Being prayerful at the output of my day reminds me of what is important and the priority. Christmas with out Christ is a distraction. Christ is worthy to be honored and celebrated in our hearts everyday. Our life should be overflowing in anticipation of Christ’s coming and should turn us to worship and praise HIM. Christmas is the reminder of the fullness of all that Christ is, who He says He is, and doing what He said He would do. It gives HOPE THAT CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN. Go in PEACE and make this Hope central in your home. The reason we celebrate at parties, make treats and cookies, decorate our homes, give gifts and wear fun clothing is because the OVERWHELMING JOY and ANTICIPATION of the coming Christ has consumed every area of our life! We should do those things as a token of remembrance. Those things aren’t the goal of the season but should POINT US TO and promote increasing excitement towards the 25th. Please let the reason you have any Christmas traditions be because it reminds and promotes your celebration of the COMING CHRIST! If any of those things aren’t promoting Christ this Christmas season but distracting you from Him, prayerfully consider readjusting your agenda this season.

Help me know how you are savoring Christ in your home and heart. What things have you put into your schedule or taken out? What are your prayers and desires for this time of advent?