Last week we talked about managing our kids' expectations for Christmas. (LINK)This week we are going to talk about managing your expectations for the season.
I know the pressure of Christmas. To do all the fun things, make memories, and fuel the Christmas magic for your kids.
But in all the hustle and bustle we can lose sight of Christmas and be more worried about 'Keeping up with the Jones' than Drawing Near to Jesus.
In this season when the pressure is cranked up to 11 I try to stick to three goals during the season, and a Norman Rockwell Portrait Christmas shouldn’t be on there.
#1 Communicate Expectations before you go somewhere.
I know we want the Hallmark movie Family Christmas instead of the Griswolds or Home Alone, but realistic expectations are key with kiddos in tow. Because while you are trying to create picture-perfect memories, your kids are just trying to have fun, usually on their terms. Can you tell I'm a mom of some strong-willed boys.
What I have to remember is that my kids have their own ideas of fun and ..."all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) My kid are going to make poor choices be selfish and unresonable from time to time. But if I am clear at the start of an event what my expectations of them are they tend to understand the goal of where we are.
I also need to be willing to see the events from my kids' point of view also, so that insert some goofy fun that they will enjoy too, even if we are at the ballet. (Not my kids' first choice in activity)
#2 Don’t over-commit.
The amount of events and invitations that float around during Christmas seems to grow exponentially with each kid you have.
I'm pretty sure my entire month of December was planned before the Thanksgiving turkey was cooked. Not to mention all the Christmas Vendor fair invitations to come read and sell my books.
In the words of a dear friend, "No" is a full sentence.
It's okay to say no. It's okay to not do all the things because you are attempting to guard your time and family, so you can enjoy this time of year. No guilt or shame. Jesus came to bring peace to our souls, so I think it's okay to have a silent night or two.
Take the time to ponder and soak up the simplicity of Christmas.
I say this not to add another thing to your plate or an activity to squeeze in with all the others.
But another encouragement to sit and remember the why of Christmas, which is God's love for you.
The whole reason Jesus was born was with the Cross in mind. With what he would do so you could be rescued from the punishment of sin. There is no greater gift or act of love.
Whether this is with an Advent reading plan, notes from your Elf on the Shelf, Kindness Elves, Wandering Wisemen, Jesse Tree, or any of the other amazing resources out there. Attuning our hearts to Jesus' love is the best way to celebrate Christmas.