Keeping Christ in Christmas

I remember the first and ONLY time that I ever went Black Friday shopping. I agreed to go with my aunts and cousins, and as soon as we got to the VERY full parking lot, I regretted my decision. It was utter chaos. We were pushed, yelled at, and almost trampled at every store we went to. I vowed then and there to never go Black Friday shopping ever again.

How many times have we rung in the New Year in debt from all the unnecessary shopping?! We usually buy too much, eat too much, and drink too much and end up having “post-holiday blues”. Now I am not saying that rum cake is not delicious, or that holiday parties and gifts are bad. Those things are WONDERFUL! But what I am saying is that we often get caught up in those things and can forget what Christmas is suppose to be. I can tell you what it is not: endless presents, and subsequent debt, stress, over-indulging, and stretching ourselves WAY too thin.

I remember one year, shortly after my parents were divorced, my younger brother and I decided we would travel to see them at their individual homes on Christmas day. My parents live 2 hours apart, and we had a couple other family members that we committed to seeing in the midst of that, so needless to say, we were in the car for HOURS. And although we had fun chatting and reminiscing about our childhood, it was not the Christmas we envisioned. Why did we do that to ourselves? We decided that we were not going to do that anymore, and we have stuck to that, even as we have each gotten married and started our families.

A dear friend of mine shared with me how her and her husband plan on celebrating Advent and Christmas this year. She said that they decided to get their daughter ONE gift, and that they are planning many family activities throughout the month so that they spend TIME together. They have a 3 year old daughter, and a baby on the way, and they both work full time. Time and energy are in short supply. Yet, her and her husband are committed to making this month about spending it as a family. Creating memories and sharing special time together.

I know this may seem cheesy, but what if this Advent, we all decided that we would make time for our families?! Let’s put away our phones, and turn off the television. Let’s read together, bake cookies, or do a service project as a family. If you are in a snowy place, build a snow man, or a nativity. Load everyone up in the car and drive around your community to look at Christmas lights. We do not have to spend a lot of money to make Christmas memorable.

Lastly, I encourage you to pray daily as a family especially during this time. Light your advent candle, say a rosary, or just a short evening prayer together. This sacred time, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, is suppose to be a time of quiet and peaceful reflection. If you are stressed and worried, take a step back. Breath. Pray. And re-think your approach to Christmas. There is still time. If that means backing out of commitments, or cutting back on gifts, so be it. The joy of Christmas has nothing to do what the things we give, but about the LOVE we give. Give yourself the present of BEING PRESENT this Christmas.

I am praying for you during this beautiful time!! What are some ways that you keep this beautiful time focused on Christ? What are some things that you do with your family to show them the real reason for this season?

Copyright 2018 Diana Resendiz. All Rights Reserved.

Image Credit: 2018 Karen Padilla. All Right Reserved

Diana CantuComment