Today I am thrilled to publish this guest post by Jamie Johnson of Writing in the Stillness. Her wise words never fail to inspire me, and I cannot wait to share them with you.
I pondered in the stillness, cuddled on the cushions of my white couch. It was late October and Christmas felt just around the corner. This year I determined to keep Christmas centered on Christ. As I gazed out the window, I briefly recalled Christmases past….
I remember the Christmas when I spent dozens of hours creating two twin quilts for my toddler boys. It started as an act of love, but as the days turned into weeks, and my boys watched movies while I painstakingly picked out stitches, measured endless yards of fabric, and hummed that little sewing machine for all it was worth, I realized how very much I disliked sewing and how very much time I was not spending playing with my little boys. It broke my heart and I vowed to never repeat that season.
Another Christmas, guilt consumed me because with all the festive traditions of cookie-making, light-seeing, gift-giving, and Christmas-caroling, I couldn’t keep up. I thought I should do all of these amazing traditions and I over-packed our days like a too-small gift box. Most of the well-intentioned activities I had planned fell by the wayside. I felt like a failure, and I promised myself that a too-busy Christmas wouldn’t happen again.
Last Christmas I felt stirrings in my heart to make the season memorable and joyful. But discouragement and discontent crept into the corners of my heart and all I could think about was how my walls were the wrong color, my decor wasn’t fitting, and how my house didn’t feel like home. This was the worst Christmas of all.
But this year, I vowed, this year would be different. Despite our crazy autumn packed to the brim, Christmas glimmered off in the distant December with a promise of hope.
This year I would find joy.
This year I would find peace.
This year I would find Christ.
And so with whatever traditions, parties, and festivities your family enjoys this Christmas, may I make just 4 small suggestions for how to keep your Christmas centered on Christ.
- Never be too busy for the small and simple things. The life-giving practices of prayer and scripture study, both personally and as a family, will be the ties that knit your heart to Christ. In a busy season, they will be the foundation that keeps you stable, secure, and grounded in our Savior.
- Build your Christmas season around simple Christ-centered traditions. In our technology-based world oversaturated with Christmas ideas, it’s easy to get lost in the drifts of comparison, busyness, and material things that only prove to be fluff. Choose to settle your heart on just a few traditions that bring you peace and joy, and then guilt-free, let all the rest go. As you do, watch your peace and enjoyment of the Christmas season unfold.
This year, we are enjoying just two simple advent calendars for our Christmas traditions. One by Ann Voskamp called, “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.” The other is called “25 Days of Christ.” These have proved to be the most precious traditions we have ever tried as they have daily pointed our hearts to our Redeemer.
- Give as He would. We can draw ever so close to our Savior as we find just one simple way to give during the holidays. Each Christmas we donate toys to local charities or families in need. One Christmas Eve, we invited an elderly gentleman from the local care center into our home for the evening. As we feasted on our Christmas Eve dinner, we listened to his stories of bull riding in the rodeos and milking cows on the dairy farm. Our hearts were filled with love for this man and his life as we shared a few hours with him. Gather your family close this Christmas, and decide together how you will give a Christlike gift.
- Lastly, take time to sit in the stillness and ponder. Whether in the early morning or the late-evening twinkle by your Christmas tree, find some time to reflect on the Son of God and what He has done for you. Think of what your life would be like if He hadn’t come. Think of the times when He has delivered you. Think of the miracles and gifts He has given you personally and thank Him for His endless grace.
What gift could you give Him in return? Over the upcoming year, could you sacrifice a little more time to spend with Him in the scriptures? Or maybe you could give up judgment and choose to see others as He would. Perhaps you could commit to cultivate a grateful heart and notice each day how your life is blessed by the hand of the Lord. Your gift, no matter how small, will mean everything to Him. Write down on a little white notecard the gift you will give your Savior this Christmas. Then place it under the tree.
In these last few days of advent, we can choose to focus on what matters most.
We can find peace and we can find joy as we seek to find Christ.
About the Author
Jamie Johnson lives in a small town of Utah with her husband, Patrick, and their three sweet children. She loves being a mother and homemaker, and finds her joy in simple things like reading stories to her children and making memories with her family. She also enjoys hand-lettering. You can find her prints in her Etsy shop. Her greatest hope is to change the world through simple words of peace and inspiration. You can find her on Instagram and her blog, Writing in the Stillness.