Prepare for Christmas! Tis the season for massive to-do lists, increased spending, and high expectations. The decorating and shopping have begun. Family get-togethers are formulating. It is easy to get so involved with all the planning that we neglect to prepare our hearts.
Here are seven tips to help you prepare for Christmas, using the acrostic P.R.E.P.A.R.E.
POSITION your heart at the feet of Jesus.
As you get your home ready for the holiday with cleaning and decorating, make time to also prepare you heart. Be intentional about having a short devotion time no matter how busy you are. Listen to Christmas music as you drive. Short moments of sitting at the feet of Jesus will help your attitude in the craziness of December. Bible Gateway has devotional helps, if you need some.
RELEASE hard feelings.
Old resentments and hurts can resurface during the holidays, leading to bitterness and a Scrooge-like attitude.We become nostalgic for sweet Christmas memories, but unfortunately, family issues or unpleasant memories can linger instead. Before Christmas celebrations, take time to release any hard feelings or grudges. Pray. Speak to anyone privately if necessary. Christmas can come early with the gift of forgiveness.This article ‘Connection Not Conflict’ by Bill and Pam Farrel offers good counsel.
Bigger is not always better; more is not always best. The culture drives us to think we need to spend more or give more than we can afford. Set a limit on spending and stick to it. Choose one area of your Christmas preparations to simplify. Decide what is essential for your family celebration and choose to be satisfied with it.
Scripture says to “pray without ceasing.” One way to do this is through arrow prayers, which are short prayers lifted to God directed at a certain situation or person. Maintain a thankful heart throughout December. Pray over those who sent you Christmas cards. Pray over your schedule, to determine what is realistic and what is not. Pray for your family that they would embrace the Lord Jesus Christ. There’s never a lack of things to pray!
Realize there is no perfect tree or perfect marriage or family. Travel, family, gift giving, and unrealistic expectations can turn holiday merriment into meltdown. Holidays mixed with perfection leads to disappointment and frustration. Relax your expectations. Allow yourself to make small mistakes. Focus on the fun process of Christmas activities, not a ‘perfect’ outcome.
READ the Word.
Open the Word of God as a family to learn more of the Christmas story. Read portions of it each week with an Advent wreath. Let it be a special time, even if it’s only a few minutes. It’s not too late to download this advent calendar from Thriving Family.
Help a neighbor with their Christmas lights. Babysit for someone so they can get some shopping done. Remember those who are in the midst of a tough time and reach out to them.
As you P.R.E.P.A.R.E. for Christmas, I pray that you can also prepare the way of the Lord in your heart and home.