In our house Christmas starts the day after Halloween. No, we’re not those people—you know, the kind of people who put up a giant lit-up Santa in the front yard weeks before Thanksgiving (wink). Rather, my husband and I have a conversation in early November about the upcoming holiday season, and we make a plan.
My husband is a pastor, which makes the Christmas season extra, extra busy. Not only do we have the regular family holiday activities—decorating, dinner planning, gift buying, and such—but we have additional commitments to our church and community. My husband and the church staff are busy planning toy drives, parties and gifts for their ministry teams, and special Christmas Eve services. And guess who helps him? You’re right—me!
Christmas times two or three is enough to make any mama lose her holiday cookies. It’s easy to lose sight of Jesus during the holiday busyness, even under normal circumstances. Being a pastor’s wife and mama, I have learned an incredibly important thing over the years:
Making Jesus the center of Christmas takes intention.
Enter the plan.
Here are a few things on our plan:
- We make a goal of getting all of my gift shopping and wrapping done prior to Thanksgiving. We schedule the Thanksgiving weekend for visits with family, and we deliver the Christmas gifts then. Not only does this save a lot of time in December, it also saves on shipping costs.
- We intentionally schedule silent nights in December where we are home together as a family, watching a Hallmark movie or simply sitting on the couch with a cup of tea enjoying the Christmas decorations.
- Our family time goes on the December calendar first. We then consider all of our other obligations and invitations, and graciously say no to activities that take away from our family time. While perhaps disappointing to others (and us at times), we make our silent nights a priority.
The opposite of busyness is—you guessed it—being still. Stillness, quietness, silence makes room for us to focus on what’s really important: Jesus and each other. It’s hard to do unless you intentionally plan to do it. (And just so you know, our family is not perfect at it. Some years are better than others, and we work at it all the time.)
What if you made a plan for silent December nights this Christmas season? What would that plan look like? What would need to change in your household?
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” It’s no wonder Joseph Mohr’s famous carol “Silent Night” is the most famous Christmas carol of all time, both in the United States and throughout the world. Silence is a way to connect with—and worship—the baby king.
From the Ford household to yours, we wish you a blessed, joyous, peaceful, and still holiday season. Merry Christmas!