It really makes me sad when I hear someone say that they are super stressed due to the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Many are frustrated and have closed their hearts to Christmas because of the commercialization and materialism that seems to have taken over the beauty and holiness of the season.
As Christians, and children of God, we are called to share the light of Christ with the world, one heart at a time. For me, the Advent and Christmas Season is a wonderful time to do just that.
Amidst the tacky and commercial decorations, relentless Christmas music, and the barrage of holiday marketing hitting us from all angles, sometimes it is very difficult to stay focused on the Truth. Sometimes we tend to drift over to the realm where parties, food, drink, and the “perfect” gifts dictate the atmosphere and the spirit in our hearts.
Don’t let that happen to you this year. The beauty of Advent and Christmastime is already waiting in your heart. All you need to do is open your heart and will to God’s Holy Spirit, and your Christmas Season will be perfect in God’s love.
I can’t help myself…I love Christmas and all that comes with it. I choose to look past the commercialization and materialism, and focus on the things that bring joy and love.
Here are some of the ways that either bring love and joy to my own heart or ways I find to share that joy and love with others. We are all unique, and have different ways to experience and share the joys of Christmas. God made us to be different; we are blessings to each other when we appreciate the ways of love from each person in our lives. Maybe my thoughts and Christmas traditions will help to open your heart to some of the things you’ve felt were missing. It’s easy to close ourselves off when we feel overwhelmed.
It’s open season for Christmas music on Thanksgiving Day through mid-January. We have many Christmas CDs and we enjoy them often. My mom lives with my husband and me, and she really loves the music. My husband enjoys a little of it, so I have to be careful of the amount of time those Christmas tunes are playing. The reason I love to listen and sing Christmas music is that it fills me with joy, and it also brings me back to being a little girl. Remember the wonder of Christmas when you were a little child? I still love to feel that way.
Our Christmas tree and inside decorations are very special to us. Not because they are perfect or trendy…but because there is a lifetime of Christmas memories attached to most of the ornaments and decorations. There are family ornaments from over fifty years ago, and then from the years of building our family with our sons. There is our Nativity Scene under the tree that was a gift from my parents when I was still single.
Are the “things” themselves the most important thing? No, the memories attached to them are blessings from God. All of God’s gifts are good, and we are very thankful for all the memories; even the “bad” ones. Like the Christmases when we lacked the money to buy ANY gifts for ourselves or anyone else. But you know what? I can truly say those were the most beautiful Christmases, because we were surrounded by the love of God, family and friends.
Our family loves Christmas movies. There are probably 15-20 movies we watch every year. These stories bring warmth and joy to our hearts, and we love the tradition of watching them together. This year, I decided to string popcorn garland, so that was what I was doing while I watched some of those movies.
A Christmas puzzle is a must. Sometimes two or three, depending on the time I decide to spend putting them together.
Our outside decorations consist of multi-colored lights, a gorgeous wreath on the front door that was a gift from my mother, and a spotlighted Nativity Scene. We love to drive around to enjoy the beautiful decorations in our neighborhood and surrounding areas. It’s interesting to me to see the different ways that people decorate and express themselves, and I look for the joy in all.
Although it is time consuming, and I try to remain stress-free during the Holidays, I LOVE to bake cookies. Lots of cookies. We eat more Christmas cookies than we should, but the main reason I bake is to give them away. I enjoy filling tins with a variety of cookies and handing them out to anyone I feel might enjoy receiving them.
Christmas cards are very special to me. I love making them out for all the people in my life, and sometimes for those that may not even know me, but may need a special pick me up. Sometimes I write thank you notes to those who have had an impact on my life, and slip them in. With each card I write out, I think of that person and how they have blessed my life. I also say little prayers for them as I go along.
It’s always fun searching for unique little gifts for people; and we usually participate in a few “angel trees” and community events. Sometimes we focus on a single family, or there may be someone we know of that is in need. We have sent gifts of money anonymously, or filled a particular need. These are all ways to share Christ’s love.
Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Mass is when I truly feel the Spirit of Christmas. When we walk into the Church, the Spirit overcomes me. This is it. The preparation, the music and joy, all of the time spent with family and friends, is one with the pure love and peace of Jesus. Thank you, Lord!
May you find your own special ways of sharing Christ’s perfect love and peace during this blessed Advent and Christmas Season. Enjoy all of it, with the heart and eyes of the child that lives in your heart.
- For unto us a child is born. . . (mikehigh5.wordpress.com)