Being “centered” means that you have a reference point or a place to come back to when life’s challenges and emotions push you off balance. Tim, my husband, and I just completed an eight week pottery class learning how to work on the pottery wheel. One of the early skills any potter must master is centering clay on the wheel. In reflection about this Christmas, it seems that the secret to success is also centering.
What happens when we are not on center?
How do we stay on center?
What do we do when we are off center?
Funny thing…. After you learn to center, you LIFT your clay. When contemplating centering Christmas on spiritual, Christ focused activity, the whole of my season is lifted to have more meaning. Like our experience in creating pottery, our centering our Christmas season is the secret.
What does it mean to have Christ as a specific subject or the focal point of Christmas?
What would my season really look like with Christ in the center of all that is celebrated in my Christmas?
What will happen if I just approach Christmas with no intentionality at all?
Christmas is a story that starts with “In the beginning….” The story of Jesus coming as a baby really begins back at creation. This story is better than your favorite fairy tale because it is true. It is a story that never gets old. Christmas and Easter really give us an opportunity to tell and retell the stories of Jesus and how much he loves each one of us.
It is up to you and me what with do with this Christmas season before us.
C.S Lewis struggled to separate his feelings about the spiritual side and the commercial side of the Christmas season. In 1954, he wrote an essay called “Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus,” in which he created a fictional land called Niatirb (Britain spelled backwards) that celebrates two festivals. Xmas is a festival of excesses, with participants frantically exchanging cards and gifts, often reluctantly. The other, Christmas is a much simpler, quieter celebration centered on the birth of a child. While it is quite exciting to embrace much of the glitter and gifting in these weeks, the hassle and headache of it all must be arrested.
The following 10 ideas suggest how to embrace a Christ centered Christmas.
- Select a topic related to the Christmas theme that you want to focus on this Christmas? Shepherds? Names of Jesus? Prophecy of Jesus coming? Mary? Angels? Study this topic for yourself or select a book or digital study that really digs into this more specific area of the familiar Luke 2 story. Read the story of the birth of Christ in more than one version of the Bible. Read it several times to yourself and your children. Watch a Biblically based reenactment of it in a play or movie. (I love The Nativity and the two shorter scenes by the Chosen.)
- Select Christmas decorations that point to Christ’s birth.
- Consider a Jesse tree ornament tree and study. While everyone is putting up a small, large, fat, skinny Christmas tree – I can tell the story of the family tree of Jesus. I can go all the way back to the beginning of the story of creation and trace the scarlet thread of Jesus coming to earth. When I am tracing the family tree of Jesus, guess what I find? I find people who are cheats, liars, losers, sneaks, arguers, fighters, broken hearts, throw-aways and people who seem to be so much like the people that could be in any family tree. Jesse’s family was so fractured that there was barely a stump, but yet we find the stories of Ruth, Rahab, David and so many more.
- Find an advent study for you and your family. Select Christ centered children’s books. Explore the Best Christmas book list I created on Amazon full of some of our family’s favorite books.
- Locate musical events and plays which are God honoring. Some our our annual favorites are the Singing Christmas Tree at our church, Andrew Peterson’s Christmas Annual Concert and Handel’s Messiah.
- Think of others in pain with physical needs and spiritual needs. Think of those who are grieving, caregiving or missing someone for the first Christmas. So many around us have experienced loss this year. Ask yourself, “Who is alone? Can I include them?” Take time to think of others who are in the path of your life. Scheme about something to encourage them. It can be a food item or a tangible act of kindness or money. Some gifts are best given anonymously. Be sensitive not to embarrass someone with your gift.
- Listen to a significant amount of Christmas music that celebrates Christ. Listen to the words. Mean them when you sing them.
- Schedule time to be quiet and enjoy the Christmas season. Express gratitude to God, your family and friends. Take at least 20 minutes each day to be quiet and reflect on the gifts God has given you. I like to reflect near my Christmas tree or outside.
- Tune in your senses. Look. Smell. Listen. Taste. Touch. Speak or Sing. Wherever you are, be ALL there.
- Share Jesus to those who do not know him.
People are drawn to Jesus because he meets a deeply felt need that only he can meet. If you are a Christ-follower, you have the privilege to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Reach out with kindness and community. Actively study to be prepared for God appointed conversations.
The greatest gift that our heart wants is the love of our father God. There is no better thing to be excited about than our own story of redemption. Don’t be shy about telling your story.
The story of Christ is one of new hope and new starts.
Let this focus CENTER your Christmas.
I have done this all my life.
My parents showed me how to do this centering at Christmas.
I keep some of the same traditions and add new ideas.
Are you centered?
Are there things that you need to get rid of in order to breathe deeply and center, focus and come back to the real reason for Christmas?
Remember, God does not throw out the cheats, liars, losers, sneaks, arguers, fighters. He is the original father who adopts us as his son or daughter. I am an adopted daughter. Tim is an adopted son. We are CHOSEN. God purposely adopts broken and broken hearted people.
Tim and I would love to invite you come into one of the cozy spots in our home with a cup of coffee in our recently centered pottery cups (LOL), with a blanket and the best conversation. We would love to hear how you are centering your Christmas this year. Have you unwrapped His story at the center?
Join us for a conversation with the same name as this blog on our podcast Embrace Your Everyday.
We invite you to “embrace your everydays” this December with a Centered Christmas.