So it is Christmas week! Here are a baker’s dozen practical ways to help you own the next few days!
- Finish up your shopping The week before Christmas is crazy at the retail centers and you don’t want to be at the mercy of the mail to deliver an on-line order before the wire. Finish up. Settle down.
- Adjust your attitude If you are doing Christmas entertaining out of duty, guilt or obligation, it is always going to be an emotional drag. Shift your thinking. You are blessed because you have people to bless! Enjoy the season.
- Stay within budget The days leading up to Christmas can tempt us to “add on” to what we are buying for family and friends. This can take us over budget and provide a rough start to the new year when the credit card bill arrives. Remember this rule: If you have to charge it, you can’t afford it.
- Slow it down Don’t fly through things. Think of Christmas week like a great steak and not a cheap hamburger. Savor every bite. Christmas is way too special to just gulp it down.
- Pull up a chair or two Do you know someone nice who will be spending Christmas alone? Invite them to your festivities! You will be surprised how quickly you will get a “yes.” There is always plenty of leftover food anyway.
- Build in worship The more Christmas themed worship services you can attend, the better you will be connected with the reason for the season. Make traditions around worship attendance on Christmas Eve or other special services and you will create a generational legacy of worship in your family!
- Tell stories Make sure there is time to remember those no longer at the Christmas table. Celebrate their lives and their contributions to your life. Tell funny stories and laugh! Honor your empty chairs.
- Delete drama Drama feeds off of drama. If you have someone running for Christmas Drama King or Queen this year, just don’t pay any attention to them. Drama quickly dies for lack of fuel. Fuel it and it will burn the whole house down.
- Share the Christmas story BEFORE you open gifts Anything special you think you are going to do after gifts are opened isn’t going to happen. Read the Christmas story before the gift exchange. Link what you are about to do with God’s gift of Christ Jesus.
- Offer grace at Christmas dinner Have people put their phones away and actually have a formal Christmas Grace. Do it old school. Hold hands. Don’t have a child do this one. Whoever the spiritual leader of your family happens to be, they should take the honor. And don’t make the prayer too long. I really like, “Almighty God, you have blessed us so much…and we are grateful. Amen!”
- Treat people really well Regardless of who joins you for your Christmas celebration or the dynamics of their story, treat them really well. Remember that you don’t have to approve of every aspect of a person’s life to make them feel welcome and show them love.
- Create memories I remember very few gifts I received growing up but I will never forget Christmas Eve services, snowball fights, football games and family game times. And take lots of pictures.
- Honor the aging. Pay special attention to the older members of your family. Make sure they are included and celebrated. Ask them questions. Learn from them. Put it into the “things I will never regret” file.
Merry Christmas Dear Friends.
Choose love and forgiveness.
Hold it steady.
Own Christmas week!
Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois.