The weekend spilled over into Monday when – after a full day’s work and school – we drove out to the mall to see Santa. But not just any Santa. We made a 40-minute trek so our girls could be with the only Santa they’ve ever known – a gem of a man who has held them on his knee every Christmas since they were babies.
I enjoyed these particular activities. But I need to be careful. Otherwise, I’ll start to ruminate on and then worry about all the remaining tasks I “must” do to insure a happy holiday. More shopping. Wrapping. Baking. Cooking the ham and myriad side dishes.
At face value, none of these things is inherently bad. In theory, Christmas traditions can strengthen family bonds – something God undoubtedly desires. But is any of it necessary? Not if I ignore my children while I’m signing the Christmas cards. Not if I yell at them on the way to The Nutcracker. Not if I complain about the burden of “all that baking.” And not if I forget Jesus in the midst of it all.
I can even do a daily Advent calendar, set up a nativity scene, read the Biblical account of His birth every day, go to church on Christmas Eve…and still forget Jesus. Such “spiritual” activities miss the point if they’re simply more check-off items on my Christmas to-do list.
So what is necessary in this season? I need to prioritize my actual relationship with Jesus over holiday activities and traditions, even those about Him. If I choose to spend quality time with Him each day – reading His Word and both talking and listening to Him in prayer – the rest will fall into place. I’ll discern what other activities would benefit my family. I’ll have peace at letting go of the rest. I’ll see my children for the gifts from God that they are. And I’ll give them one of the best gifts possible: a mom who is drawing strength from the King of kings.