Preparing our Hearts for Christmas

Often the time before Christmas is called “Advent”. Advent means “arrival that has been awaited” and that describes the time before Christmas perfectly. We wait for the birth of Christ – or rather, for the time we celebrate that birth which actually happened over 2000 years ago.

Jessica makes an Advent wreathNativity Scene

Sometimes in the midst of the commercialization of this holiday the significance and meaning does gets lost. We can find ourselves being busy with preparations, shopping and stressing so everything is just right, that Jesus seems to get left behind in all the flurry.

When I wait for something that I am very excited about I prepare myself. And this is another definition of the season of Advent (starting the 4th Sunday before Christmas). It is a time of preparation. Magazines and the TV tell us to prepare our house, to prepare food, to buy gifts and have them beautifully wrapped. But as always, God is about our hearts – Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the celebration in remembrance of Jesus Christ coming to this earth as a baby.

One of the traditions that Christians have celebrated for many years is the Advent Wreath. An Advent Wreath is made of a circle of green leaves (symbolizing life, everlasting life) with four candles within the wreath itself and one in the center. Three of the four outside candles are usually purple to represent the coming King (purple being a royal colour). The 4th candle is generally pink to represent joy. These candles are lit, progressively, one new candle each Sunday as a family, or church, focus on Jesus, the light of the world, the coming Saviour, hope, peace and joy. The 5th, and center candle, is lit on Christmas Day.

If we are to be sincere in preparing our hearts for the coming King we need to keep in balance the physical aspects of our celebrations with the spiritual.

  • Is our to-do list so long we don’t make time for maintaining our personal relationship with Jesus, in our morning devotionals?
  • Is it so important to have everything right, every symbol right, that we forget to share the real story with our children? (Purple candles are real hard to find in my town!!)
  • Do we get focused on the food, the decorations and the gifts so there is no room in our heart for Jesus?
  • There is so much good stuff that can be made into a homeschool unit study that we don’t have time to live life with our kids!
We do need to guard our hearts, and our homes, in regards to how we celebrate Christmas. Is Jesus the center of your Christmas or have the celebrations, the idea of family memories, overtaken the wonder of Jesus coming to earth as a baby, because He loved you and me.

Keep your spirit gentle,
keep your house peaceful and
keep your heart full of love.

Practical ways to keep Christ the center of your Christmas:
  • Plan early what activities you are going to be involved in and don't over commit.
  • Consider your family budget and ways to be wise stewards of all of your resources - money, time and talents.
  • In November think through your traditions and activities and consider what spiritual lessons, what character lesson you can teach drawing on those experiences.
  • Be aware of any family members who maybe ready to give their hearts to Jesus as you discuss the gift Jesus has given us.
  • Plan your family devotions ahead of time
  • Be aware of an area of service your family can pick up during this season.
  • But most of all, don't feel like you have to do it all - the one and only thing is important and that is that we remember the act of love by Jesus coming as a baby.

To read more ideas on Making Christ the center of your Christmas celebrations return to Family Traditions– Christmas.

Live life with your kids!

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