One of my favorite Christmas memories growing up was the candlelight service at my church. Each year the lights would dim, and the glow of candles created a magical scene while we sang “Silent Night.” No instruments played in the background, and no words flashed on the screen. It was a simple moment that reminded us of the quiet, unassuming night when a world-changing Savior was born.
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright.
I wish all Christmas memories could be that peaceful, but the reality is this season often wears me out. Buying and wrapping gifts, baking holiday treats, making sure I cram in all the Christmas activities necessary for the proper Facebook photos—it’s a recipe for burnout for this introverted mama. As the weeks wear on, I find myself trying to survive rather than focusing on why I celebrate Christmas in the first place.
Let’s be honest, moms. Magic is found in the fun, busy activities of this season, and some of you are rock stars at making it extra exciting for your kids. But it’s so important to build in margin so we can experience those “Silent Night” moments that portray what this season is about.
How do we do that? Here are some ideas you can incorporate this week.
Turn down all the lights except the Christmas tree
Spend time as a family enjoying the glow and share favorite Christmas memories together. You might talk about different ornaments on your tree and the stories behind them. Or you could reflect on Jesus’s birth by imagining conversations that might have taken place between the shepherds or Mary and Joseph.
For example, you could ask your kids, “If you were Joseph, what would you say to Mary after the second innkeeper said there was no room in the inn?” Or, “Let’s pretend we’re the shepherds out working in the field on a normal, everyday night. What are we talking about?”
Be intentional with your screen time
This is a time of year when we want to stay connected with others, but screens can quickly steal our peace. Whether comparing ourselves to Super Mom’s Instagram posts or feeling stressed about capturing every moment on camera, we can easily lose sight of the simple gift we’re celebrating.
You might find it helpful to set time limits on your screen usage, perhaps blocking evening hours for family time. If you’re feeling pressure to share every Christmas memory with others on social media, try lowering your expectations and live in the moment. Whenever I find myself looking at my kids mostly through a screen, it’s a sign to put down my phone and watch them in real-time, right in front of me. Their smiles are much more memorable when they’re met eye-to-eye, rather than through a camera lens.
Choose your entertainment wisely
There are so many sources of entertainment during the Christmas season. Every year my family loves watching funny films like Elf and Home Alone, and we have tons of great memories laughing together. But we’ve also developed traditions of watching entertainment that reminds us of Jesus. The Star became a new favorite movie of ours last Christmas. We also watch A Charlie Brown Christmas every year, and the simple portrayal of Jesus’s birth makes me smile whenever I watch it.
Wonderful memories can be made during the Christmas season, and options for fun abound. As we go about our merry-making, let’s make sure we carve out time to slow down and pursue peace. Those simple “Silent Night” moments may turn out to be the most memorable for our children and for us.
Journeying with you,
Let’s talk! Are you energized or worn out by activities during the holidays? What are some of your favorite ways to pursue peace this season?