A Family-Focused Christmas

This week, my colleagues, I want to remind you that your number-one priority at this time of the year is your own family. They need to hear the story of Christmas from you, to have some quiet moments of reflection as you share with them from your childhood. Make some memories. Establish some family traditions of your own. 

For many of us, the pressures of the season are so intense that our attitudes are anything but yuletide bright. And, even when we are at home, we are distracted from, or even disinterested in, the events surrounding our own families. Do everything in your power to prevent Advent adversity. Be especially sensitive to your spouse and children.

One of the things about the Christmas season I remember as a pastor was the toll it took on my wife. There were years when Beverley could barely wait for December 26th. Why? Because we worked her almost to death.

I think back to those days and the round of seasonal parties I dragged her to, not to mention the decorating, shopping, and planning for the in-laws’ arrival. And, of course, there were the school programs. Whew! I know what you are saying: “What’s the big deal? That’s what we do every year!” I know, but do you enjoy all of the busyness? Does your spouse? Sometimes, I feel like it was not the Grinch that stole Christmas, but the church.

I believe there is a limit to what should be expected of your spouse, and I am just waving the flag on his or her behalf.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Give your spouse private time to do Christmas things without worrying about dinner or kids — his or her night out!
  2. On your day off, just the two of you take on the season and have fun while doing the “Christmas thing.”
  3. Make one night family decorating night with the entire family putting up the tree or helping with the lights and other home decorations.
  4. Make baking a family event. Let the kids do their magic, and you wash the pots and pans.
  5. Take the kids and go shopping for your mate. Even wrap the presents together.
  6. Give him or her the gift of knowing that, after the Christmas excitement, all of you can get away for a few days — away from the phone and church expectations.

Wishful thinking? Not really. A lot of this is up to you. I challenge you to make it different this year. Be creative. Smile a lot, sing a lot, laugh a lot, encourage, and affirm a lot. Schedule time with your family so that Christmas will truly be a time of peace and goodwill rather than a bah-humbug event filled with resentful feelings. Make it the most Christ-centered, family-focused Christmas you have ever experienced. If you do, I promise it will be your most memorable Christmas ever.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).


©2012 HB London.  Originally posted on Dec 10, 2012 at The Heart of a Pastor blog.