Monday, December 1, 2008

Having a Mary Christmas

Our host for "At the Well" this week is Tracy from Thirsty for Him. She has chosen the topic of: Having a "Mary" Christmas: Keeping "Christ" in Christmas with Practical Ideas.

She asks us the following questions:
Do you find yourself stressed each Christmas, trying to "DO" all of the activities of the holiday, only finding yourself depleted and wondering if your family celebrated the true meaning of Christmas? What are practical tips and ideas you can share that celebrate Christ and simplifies Christmas?

It has taken me many years, but I can honestly say that I have been set free from being overly stressed at Christmas. Well, as far as the busyness of Christmas is concerned anyway. Certain things in life go on no matter what the season, and my stress load with life in general is a whole 'nother subject. ;)

Two insights I have to participate in this subject, because I'm terrible at traditions. Wish I weren't, but I really am. (sigh)

The first is to take time to worship God alone.
Mark 1:35 (New International Version)
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

This may mean turning off the music or walking away from the computer or other distractions...and getting alone with God--focusing on His character, His Word. It's so difficult for moms with little children and little to no support from their spouses, but it can be done. (Just not for long unfortunately).
Honestly, I don't know how anyone keeps the Christ in Christmas without taking the time to focus on the Christ OF Christmas.
I simply cannot. After you've done this, then you can take the time to meditate on the Word and pray with the rest of your family. This, I promise, will make a significant difference in your attitude this's more than listening to Christmas sermons and reading other's's TRULY spending time in magnificent wonder and awe of your Savior King. Listening. Telling. Turning. Living.

Second, be intentional about living worship.
Ephesians 5:15-17 (New International Version)
"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."

It sounds so simple and so basic, but the small things speak Christ into others in the midst of a hectic, complicated, frustrating time for many. We try to tip extra when we can, put coins in the Salvation Army bucket. The kids and I not only put our grocery cart away, but we look for stray ones to put away too. We are friendly in lines at the checkout counter and try not to honk at the person who switches three lanes. Imagine a honk-free wouldn't that be something? (Bear in mind I live in the city).

I always pray that our family would not be out to impress the Santa who knows when you've been bad or good, but that we would be about giving our all to the Savior who knows our thoughts and motives. When I choose to turn a conversation from gossip to praise at a Christmas party, it makes a difference. When I seek out someone who looks left out and sit with them at the Christmas program, it makes a difference.

I could go on and on, but TRULY, the way we live out our faith during this time, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in us, the more peace that comes at Christmas, the internal kind anyway. Together, let's reflect on Him and live as though He is our "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6b)

Mary Christmas! Sooooooo many other thoughts, practical insights and sweet conversation await at Tracy's place. I hope you'll head on over.

In the Key of HE,

20 friends shared a comment:

Denise said...

Amen, wonderful post.

Homesteader in Training said...

Uh, Huh! Preach it girl!
Love you!

DarcyLee said...

A honk-free Christmas-that really is something-I live in the city, too. It truly is the little things that matter and it's so easy to get caught up in all the stress. Thank you so much for that reminder.

Heather B. said...

You hit the nail on the head with "way we live out our faith during this time, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in us, the more peace that comes at Christmas"...

Lovely post, thank you!

LAURIE said...

Loved it! Truly Christmas IS the attitude of our worship. Thanks for reminding us. -Blessings, Laurie

Joyfull said...

Beautiful post! I am not good with traditions either. You are so right in the best way to keep Christ in Christmas is to keep close contact with Him through refreshing ourselves with His living Word. Thanks for sharing today.

Janet said...

Such sound, worshipful, top priority advice. Thank you for sharing with us all!

Patty Wysong said...

Great reminder to keep first things first!

lori said...

ahhhhhh yes....isn't that just great..."Mary Christmas!" As one with Martha tendencies..this just hit me...Love it!

Your ideas are fabulous and'll mean pulling ourselves away from our own or the world's expectations of the season, but in that we'll find the REAL presence of Christ....

It's so good to be back!:)


Joanne Sher said...

Excellent thoughts. Just remembering to put the focus in the right place is SO crucial! Excellent.

Laurie Ann said...

Living our faith out loud is crucial at all times, especially Christmas. We are given so many opportunities to do that, and I pray we seize every one. Lovely post, LauraLee!

Debra said...

Just beautiful, LauraLee. Those attitudes that we display show so much of the true Christmas spirit.

I am glad you stopped by today. I have honestly not been out and about either...only responding to keep up after Jay's surgery. It is so easy to get behind.

But loved your post and so glad to see you and as always was blessed by you!! Pray the children are feeling better and that construction gets done and we get to see a little more of each other.

Hugs to you!

Terri Tiffany said...

This was a very good post and one I need to read more than once during this month! Thank you!

Named Alicia said...

Amen! Great thoughts! I try to be mindful of representing Him at all times in even in the little things. Whether you say anything or not people know if you are a Christian and they are watching you. Thanks for the reminder!

I hope you have a great week!

Catrina Bradley said...

Inspired devotion. Thanks for the Christmas blessing.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Joining you in wonder and thankfulness for the gift...the Gift...of the season.


Andrea said...

Wonderful, thank you!

Jennifer said...

Noticed your blog from another....very uplifiting posts'. Will bookmark this as one of my favorites. Be back soon.

Yvonne said...

Lalee, thank you for this. I agree, we spend too much time on "doing" instead of "shining".

Keep on shining for Him, my sparkly sister!


Laury said...

These are great thoughts, Laura. Thank you for sharing.