December Orange Slices


Hi Parents!

Merry Almost Christmas!  The countdown is on. And if you're like most parents, your stress level is already rising. Can I share something with you  that I discovered as a parent at Christmas time? I didn't hear this until my youngest son was in middle school, but I still do it every year. 

Here it is: Even though your kids might have a Christmas wish list longer than their Christmas stocking, what they really want most for Christmas is... YOU. Your time, your attention, your focus. 

While we didn't have Pinterest or Facebook when I was parenting, as a Mom there was still plenty of pressure to make Christmas "perfect". I thought my job was to make the Christmas season the most fun, the most memorable, the most decorated, the most exciting... and in the midst of all that we often lost our tempers, our joy, our family, and more importantly, we lost Jesus. 

The game changer for me was reading a book called "Unplug the Christmas Machine". Just the name alone might make you say "Yes!!" Here's a synopsis of the book which centers around unplugging from the commercial, extravagant "Christmas" and instead plugging in to the right Source... Jesus and why we celebrate in the first place.

Here's my biggest take away and tip, something I still do every Christmas.... Ask each family member this question: If we could only have/do ONE tradition this year (old or new) what would you choose? And then ONLY do those... but they have to be done together as family!  We find that for some it's the same favorite every year and for some they think up something new every year! It's not easy the first year. You have to be willing to let go of some things and embrace others. But it's so worth it.  You'll find there are things you've been doing for years that nobody misses! And you'll maybe even find some new family traditions. 

Another great resource is Advent Conspiracy. There's a whole section of resources for families on how to take back Christmas for Jesus... to worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. 

I've included a bunch more resources below... pick and choose what's of interest to you, share them with friends, and experiment this year. Share back with me what works for you, because it can help others too!

By exchanging the worldview of the perfect Christmas with focusing on the truth of the Gospel and why and how Jesus came as God's greatest gift to us - the best given we've been given even though we didn't even know we needed Him - your family can have a MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

Join us on December 3, 10 & 17 for our regular 8:45/10:30 services and kids' environments.  Then December 24 let's celebrate together the newborn King!  Because in the words of my buddy, Linus, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown!"          
Praying for you and cheering you on,

Jan Hanson
Kids & Families Director