Spiritual Growth: Apply
Keeping Your Peace at Christmas
Let’s face it: Christmas, the season in which we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, can be anything but peaceful. Visits from extended family disrupt your children’s schedules, rich foods take a toll on your body, and the increasing materialism of Christmas all work together to challenge your ability to focus on what really matters. So how can you keep your cool when the world around you seems to be bubbling with anxiety? Here are valuable tips to help you make it through this Christmas season with your peace intact.
Breathe and Pray
When you’re overwhelmed by your to-do list, stop. Take a slow, deep breath in, then slowly blow it out. Pause, then do it again. Repeat this process several times throughout your day. Ask God to fill you with His peace with every breath you take in, and let go of stress and worry with every breath out. Understand that God’s peace is available to you at all times; you simply have to access it. Philippians 4:7 says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Speak this scripture over yourself and over your household daily to remind yourself of the true peace that is available to you.
How many Christmas party invitations have you received already? Most of us receive enough invitations each year to keep us busy every weekend in December, and then some. The best thing you can do to keep your peace is say, “No.” It can be difficult, but by choosing only a few gatherings that are the most important to you, you’ll be able to promote a sense of peace and community that will ensure you feel uplifted, rather than drained.
Create Family Traditions
You probably remember certain traditions that your family observed when you were growing up. You may even still practice some of these with your own family. If not, this is a great year to start. Create special traditions that revolve around spending quality time with those you love during Christmas. For instance, choose one day per week that is a special “family only” time. Then take the opportunity to unplug and spend time with one another. No television, no toy commercials, just time to talk about your day. Here are a few ideas for family-only activities:
- Play a board game
- Bake Christmas cookies
- Decorate Christmas cookies
- Play a game of football, soccer or Frisbee®
- Create homemade decorations (Pinterest will give you lots of great ideas for this.)
- String popcorn for your tree
- Sing Christmas songs
- Roast marshmallows in your fireplace
- Listen to (or sing) Christmas music as you enjoy mugs of homemade cocoa.
Give to Others and Be Blessed
Jesus said in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Giving provides the perfect opportunity for you to share the blessings of the season with others in simple ways. And by blessing others, you and your family are in turn blessed. How do you do this while still keeping your peace? Here are a few ideas:
- Volunteer in a homeless shelter or food bank
- Donate toys to your local domestic violence shelter
- Adopt an angel from a church that has an Angel Tree
- Give a gift card to a single-parent family in your church and then pray for that family throughout the season
- Give jackets, coats and blankets to a homeless shelter
- Pray nightly for the families who send you Christmas cards.
There are so many simple but powerful ways that you and your family can bless those around you.
Whether you put a few or all of these tips into practice, remember that Jesus is Lord, and He is the reason you celebrate. As you keep your focus on Him, you’re sure to have a happy and peaceful holiday season. Merry Christmas!