Our faith-filled family Advent

After the year that we’ve had, it’s no surprise that we suddenly find ourselves blindsided by the Christmas season. The moment I changed my calendar over to November I suddenly realised that I have so much to do, and no idea where to start.

I think it comes from the uncertainty of the next few months ahead of us. Will we be able to gather with our families and friends? Will we be sending gifts through the post, or dropping them off at people’s door steps? Will we be attending our children’s Christmas plays or will the church carol service be online?

It can be so easy to become overwhelmed at Christmas without adding a pandemic into the mix. So how can we shift our focus from the things we can’t control, to the things we can?

This year has made me realise that the world can be so complicated, uncertain and outside of my control. However, my own family home, and the culture we develop there, is well within my control. I’m learning that I can intentionally influence the atmosphere around my family and help us to choose what we focus our attention on this Christmas.

I can help to shift my family’s focus from what we’ve been missing this year, to what we already have. Getting out to the shops can be hard or impossible for some of us, but we can use the wonder of technology to buy gifts online, or even take the opportunity to make things at home.

I can also use this time to remind my family that no matter how much we may enjoy large family gatherings, food and gifts, they are not the reason we celebrate Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season, so why not find creative and fun ways to really make Jesus the centre in our homes?

I’ve been thinking about the things I can do to make Jesus the most important part of our Christmas this year. I’m intentionally looking for things that can become traditions that my family loves for years to come. Such as:

  • Instead of an Advent that is focused on chocolate, maybe we can share a little of the Christmas story each day.
  • Could we spend time together writing Christmas cards for our friends and family, and include an uplifting verse or something meaningful inside?
  • Can we find ways to support those in the local community and involve our children in the giving process?
  • We could go on a long winter walk or bike ride and talk about Mary and Joseph’s long journey to Bethlehem.
  • We can use Lego or Play-Doh to creatively build parts of the Nativity story.
  • Or maybe we can arrange to video call one of the older people from our church and encourage them to share some of their family traditions when they were younger.

Every family will look different, some may choose one thing they want to do together and other families may choose a whole new approach to their celebrations. Whatever works best for you and your family, I hope you find something new to explore this Christmas!

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