I know it is only the very beginning of November (if you are listening to this as a new episode) but it is time to start thinking about Christmas – especially if you want a heart focused Christmas. I was a Girl Guide as a kid – and their motto is Be Prepared. I don’t know if there is any connection but truly – the idea of being prepared is a principle that shaped me as a mother – and certainly a necessary idea leading up to Christmas. If you want to beat the commercialisation of Christmas, of empty traditions and crazy attitudes – then start thinking now about the Christmas you’d like to create for your kids.
Be Intentional about your Kid’s Heart this Christmas
Probably every Christian family is going to ask themselves, at some stage – will we celebrate Christmas? When I was a young child, my parents decided not to do Christmas and then later in their journey they decided to celebrate. Peter and I asked ourselves – Do we want to – and if so, why? We came to a place where we believe that Christmas gave us an opportunity to celebrate and remember Jesus and all He has done for us, and to make fun and happy memories with our family and friends.
And we don’t make light of the two part purpose we set for ourselves. We really do want to remember and celebrate Jesus coming to earth as a baby – fully God, fully man and that He came with a plan and purpose. We also put in effort to celebrate and remember family, friends and community and though that includes gifts, and food, and parties – we don’t want to be excessive and just be swept up with the commercialisation.
Be Intentional as you Plan for Christmas
To be intentional means you are deliberate, purposeful, and planned.
- To be deliberate means we need to think it through, know what we are doing.
- To be purposeful means we need to look at the end goal. Our purpose motivates us to stay the course.
- To be planned (or to have a plan) means we think about it beforehand, we are strategic and organised.
Too often when we look at planning for Christmas we just consider the external things. The decorations, the parties, the food, the clothes, the gifts. But for us to be heart-focused we need to consider what is going on in the inside of each person in our family – our beliefs, values, attitudes, and then the outward expression of all that – our choices, or actions.
When it comes to preparing for a celebration I’m a list person. Not only do we need lists to plan the parties, and gifts, and all the things – the more important lists consider
- the spiritual lessons my children need to understand
- the beliefs my children need to develop
- the character issues I want to help my children with
These things are of eternal value – they will impact our children today and tomorrow, far more than the gift they receive, or the experience they have on holidays.
We can just do Christmas – or we can make the season of Christmas – and for us that meant the month of December – to be really intentional about some heart lessons that were needed in our family. To be honest – any outting or activity that you and your family is involved in, is an opportunity to teach and train your child in something – be it, a belief, value or lifeskill. Christmas is no different. The only difference is that it is so busy, we have so much on, that we can easily let our children’s hearts become less of a priority as we just deal with all the busy.
Or we can start thinking about it now – remember those words – deliberate, purposeful, planning. When we plan for Christmas in a way that includes thinking about heart stuff then our Christmas becomes a much deeper celebration than any commercialisation would try and sell us.
Heart Lessons at Christmas time
To really use this season to teach and train our children’s hearts we need to
- Know what you want to focus on – what are the spiritual truths, character issues, the beliefs and values you want your children to grab hold of and be established in their lives.
- Know how you are going to pass those things onto your children – what opportunities will you use, what scriptures will you share, what stories will you tell in order to pass on what is on your heart for your children’s heart
- Know when in your busy day this going to happen – sometimes we need to plan sit time together so we can teach our children, other times we will talk and share as we go about our day.
Deut 6:7 says:
Repeat them again and again to your children.(and this is talking about God’s words)
Talk about them when you are at home
and when you are on the road,
when you are going to bed
and when you are getting up. (NLB)
Heart-focused Action Step
Why am I talking about Christmas in early November? Because like I said at the beginning – the idea of Be Prepared – is very much an intentional parenting idea. I encourage you to spend some time in the month of November thinking and planning the heart lessons you want to focus on – just one or two – so that when December comes around you are ready to not only teach your child’s heart, but you are also ready to have some fun together.
The lead-up to Christmas is such a busy time, and unless we sit down and think about it, talk about it with our spouse, do some praying and planning, we will suddenly find that it is the end of the year and we move onto other opportunities in our family life. Be intentional with your Christmas and your children’s hearts!
Though I’ve given you a rough idea of things to think about in this episode the real outline comes in my free email course: 6 ways to Create a Heart-Focused Christmas. This short email course won’t tell you want to do to prepare or celebrate Christmas, but it will give you plenty of prompts and ideas so you can think about what will serve your family best – and then you can start putting into action the things that you need so that you are prepared this Christmas.
A Heart Focus Christmas Starts in Your Heart Today: A heart focus Christmas is about making Christmas significant and it starts in our heart today as we prepare for the celebrations ahead.
Building More than Memories this Christmas: There’s more to Christmas than building fun memories. Take the opportunities Christmas gives us to strengthens the beliefs and values in our kids hearts.
10 Ideas for Keeping Christ in Your Christmas: Keeping Christ in my Christmas means reflecting Christ, his love and purpose for people, to the world.