I already have neighbors with their Christmas lights on, trees decorated, and shopping done (annoying over-achievers)!
We get it! We can all see you and realize you are way more on the ball than the rest of us – at least me!
Christmas used to be an exciting time, but since becoming a mom it’s slowly turned into a season of guilt, high-stress, extra pounds & sometimes a dose of depression. There is always so much to do and not enough time to do it all.
But what if – it didn’t have to be that way…
A few months ago I had the opportunity to listen to Emily Freeman speak at a Women’s Conference. Her story, her life, and who she was inspired all of us.
When I heard that she recently wrote a book – Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas – I jumped at the opportunity to snatch a copy to review.
As I read the book, my attitude towards the Christmas season changed. I realized that instead of putting the focus on Christ, I’ve been too busy stressing out about to-do lists & getting older ;)
Of course the to-do lists & birthdays won’t go away, but I’ve realized there are things I can do (and NOT do), to help make this time of year truly meaningful!
Preparing for a Christ-Centered Christmas
I know I often focus on preparing your home and pantry, but I hope this holiday season you’ll take some time to prepare your heart.
Before even reading Emily’s book, I worried that it was going to add even more stress to an already busy & crazy holiday season, but I was pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case at all.
In fact, her book was able to do something I haven’t been able to do for myself, which is to help simplify and give greater meaning to the traditions we do as a family during the Christmas season.
I fear that if my children were asked who they believed in they would say the same thing that Emily’s daughter did…
I believe in Santa Claus and you believe in Jesus Christ.
We love Santa, what kid doesn’t?
Santa is a celebrity around our home! Each year we write letters to him, make sure to not touch the Elf on the shelf he sent us, and spend too much money at the mall getting pictures with him.
And even though these traditions are fun and the kids love them, I feel we need to put more focus on Christ and Emily’s book did a beautiful job of sharing exactly how to do just that.
7 Christ-Centered Traditions:
I absolutely love how Emily’s book helps draw us closer to Christ by focusing on each figure of the Nativity:
- The Angel
- The Shepherd
- The Wise Men
- The Lamb
- The Christ Child
She suggests setting aside seven specific evenings – one for each figure in the nativity.
On the specified evening you choose, she recommends spending time learning about the important role that person played in the miracles that surrounded Christ’s birth, and then participating in a simple tradition that can help you learn from that person’s experience. In each section it goes into greater detail and will help to:
- Explain the symbolism in each figure of the Nativity.
- Use scriptures and songs to deepen the Christmas spirit.
- Combine family traditions with Christ centered beliefs.
- Show how small Christmas traditions can bring the entire family closer to Christ.
Throughout the book I laughed, I cried, and found a little of myself in each of the people discussed.
I appreciated the stories she shared, and reading about the traditions in her home, especially how she she dedicates one room in her home to focus entirely on Jesus.
She even shared her favorite recipe for hot chocolate – which earned big bonus points (I’m an addict ;)
There were so many things I could relate to, especially when she mentioned after all the shopping and parties are over, if often times leaves you longing for something more.
She truly makes you ponder – Do we take time to listen? to believe? She shared a quote we all know well…
At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.
I’m hoping I can do my best to not get caught up in the busyness of the season and take time to escape and reflect on the Savior and his birth.
How do you Prepare for Christmas?
I’ve never really had a plan going into the Christmas season about what I can do to help create the Christmas spirit within my home (it’s always been just pure survival), but this year will be different.
In a world filled with the hustle and bustle of the season, we often find ourselves pulled in many different directions, none of which leads us to Christ. Only the wisest our inclined to journey another way – a way that will protect their belief in Christ. – A Christ Centered Christmas
Instead of dreading the holidays, I’m actually looking forward to them. I have already marked the 7 evenings on my calendar that I want to implement the traditions from her book.
Of course we’ll still visit Santa, but hopefully our family will have a greater understanding and deeper appreciation for the miracles that surroundded the birth of Christ. He truly is the giver of every good gift! He can fill our hearts with peace and love and do so much more than we could ever do for ourselves.
Meet the Author – Emily Freeman
Emily Belle Freeman is a coach’s wife, mother to four children and a few others who have found refuge in her home, and sought-after inspirational speaker. She finds great joy in studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Her deep love of the scriptures comes from a desire to find their application in everyday life. For a few minutes every day, Emily forgets about the laundry, leaves the dishes in the sink, and writes. She is the coauthor of The Peter Potential: Discover the Life You Were Meant to Live and co-author of a blog that is a stopping place for hearts seeking all that is good: www.multiplygoodness.com.
I’ve already ordered a few of her books to give to my family during Thanksgiving. I really feel this book will help give more meaning to our Christmas traditions. Not only that, but it’s a fast read and something that is easy to implement immediately.
You can customize your book by choosing which traditions you want to do, or even include a few of your own.
Often times I get overwhelmed with starting new traditions – I’m pretty sure we have the laziest Elf on the Shelf EVER, the thing never seems to move ;) – but this book has really helped to put an order to our traditions, simplify the season, and give clarity to the true meaning of Christmas.
As Christ becomes our focus, we will begin to realize that Christmas is more than a date on the calendar – it is a way of living. – Emily Freeman
If you’re looking for some new ideas, a fresh focus, or just want to be uplifted – this book won’t disappoint…
Are there any traditions or things you do to prepare for a Christ-Centered Christmas?