Guest Post by Mallory Allen
December is here. Christmas is just around the corner. It really is a warm (literally in the South these days) and fuzzy time of year and, some might add, stressful at times. During this time of year, many of us add the extra roles of interior decorator, professional shopper and tradition keeper to our already long, everyday list of to-dos. We pull out boxes of ornaments, lights and the many other festive things Hobby Lobby has convinced us we “need” to make over our house for one month. We carve out time to comb the mall (or surf the web), trying to find the perfect gift for each of our family members. We strive to keep traditions alive from not only our childhoods, but those of our husbands’ as well, while also forming new traditions as a family. We spend time wrapping gifts, attending church musicals and Christmas parties, organizing a large meal, and sending out Christmas cards; but somewhere along the way we must really decide what is most important in these busy 24 days leading to THE day that is Christmas.
I love giving gifts. My husband jokes with me and says I may love it a little too much! This year I was taking “inventory” on what presents I had and what I still needed to get when my 3-year-old came in and asked me, “Mom, why do we buy everybody presents for Christmas?” I decided this may be a good time to put down the list for a teaching moment. Being three, he is just learning what this whole Christmas thing is all about and understanding enough to ask questions and really get into it. For about six months now I have been telling him the story of baby Jesus. So I took this moment to teach him that baby Jesus was the best gift ever given to us. He would later go on to give us the ultimate gift by dying on the cross for our sins and raising to new life so that we could be forgiven. When we disobey or do bad things, we can now be forgiven because of Jesus, and have Him come to live in our hearts if we simply ask Him.
So simple. So profound. So easily grasped by the heart of a child. After reviewing this with him, I went on to tell him that we give gifts to others whom we love, to celebrate the best gift given to us on that first Christmas. This really connected with him. So now he will tell you the best gift is baby Jesus, followed closely by a new bike, as to be expected for a 3-year-old.
His simple question helped put things back into perspective in my own heart, as it is so easy to get caught up in to-do lists and lose Christ in our Christmas.
My husband and I want to give our kids the best gift we can give each Christmas, and that is to point them toward Christ. Everything else comes after this main goal.
It’s not easy though. Slowing down in the midst of the craziness is impossible unless planned. We are a young family, with a 3-year-old and a 4-month-old, and by no means know exactly what this should look like. We are still learning what works for our family each year. But I want to share with you a few ideas we have picked up along the way and watched other godly parents we look up to do with their children to prioritize Christ in Christmas: Continue reading →