If know me, even a little bit, you know I take Christmas pretty seriously. Everything from the decorating, the gift-giving, the shopping, the baking… I love it all. Ever single year I make up a new, personalized advent calendar for the kids with all kinds of specific activities that range from hot cocoa nights to “fancy” dinners. We make gifts for friends, carol to our neighbors, send cards to family, and worship with our church.
Because it is important.
Not because it is Christmas. That is coincidental. Because it is life. And life is meant to be lived and be lived to the fullest.
And any excuse we have to create special, meaningful and intentional times with our family, we should. Because it is that important.
When we first moved to Kentucky, leaving behind our friends, family, and church in Pennsylvania, we had to walk the road of transition as a family. It was not easy. Everything around us was new, different, and unfamiliar. But you know what wasn’t? Our home, because our home was not defined by walls and geography and location. Our home was made up of the people in the walls and things we did together than made us family. For us that meant things like Fancy Dinner Nights and hiking as a family, Family “meetings” and movie nights, and yes, all of our Christmas traditions and celebrations and crazy, fun activities.
Celebrating life as a family, in the normal routines of everyday family life, create bonds of love, joy, and memories that extend past the walls of any house and into the hearts of each member. It creates meaning in the moments and excitement in the everyday.
Sometimes, life doesn’t feel celebratory. Most of the time the drudgery of life just kinda moves you through the motions. Celebrations have to be manufactured, cultivated, and intention.
But sometimes, life hands you a perfect platform to launch from; a time where the rest of the world gives you space and time to celebrate with intention and exuberance. Take it.
With everything you have, even though life is busy and things need done and the holiday is commercialized and the work load is demanding.
Seize the moment to make lasting impressions on your kids lives and plant Jesus right in the middle of all of it.
While this kind of intentional, celebratory life is easier to do when the world around you is staged for celebration, it is even more meaningful when you look for reasons to celebrate in the everyday. Special simple moment or exquisite exciting adventures; each event will leave an impression on your child’s heart that says, “Family is safe, family is exciting, and family is love.” And when you place Christ at the center of it all through words, actions, and worship, guess what? God becomes a safe place, an exciting adventure, and love incarnate.
Wherever you may find yourself this holiday season, whether it be at your house or someone else’s, I pray that home will be with you wherever you go. Gather your little family around you and celebrate together.
Because it’s important… every day.
Blessings to you all this Advent and Christmas season!
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For more information about practical discipleship in the home or transitioning to a more home-focused, intergenerational ministry at your church, go to ReFocus Ministry or “like” our Facebook page.
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, Seedbed, and D6 Family.