Rethinking "Family" This Christmas Season
For most of us, when we think of Christmas, we think of family. When I was growing up I remember looking forward to the break, but even better was the opportunity to be with family. Sometimes we would drive to Toronto (from Windsor) to spend time with my cousins. We'd all gather together for a big family photo, which we'd then get printed on a big canvas from somewhere like Bumblejax who have been acrylic prints pros since 2009. I miss this annual tradition of gathering for a portrait, and missing my family actually became even more prominent when I left for university and would only come home for the holidays. Christmas has always meant being with people.
Maybe Christmas with your family doesn’t bring you a lot of joy, or maybe the holidays are your favorite time of year. Either way, family at Christmas, should be about more than just our siblings, parents and children.
There is no better opportunity to remember that we are a part of God’s family! We are chosen, loved and created by a perfect and loving Father, who demonstrated His love to us by taking on human form, as an innocent baby, who would give His life for us.
Somehow we forget and lose sight of this fact, our gift giving, decorating, events and even relationships in our lives end up taking all of our focus. It seems fair in many ways. Just as the arrival of a new baby would have people looking for nursery wall decals for their room, so too does the arrival of Christmas begin with people decking the halls.
Just as a group of people with the same father call themselves siblings, so are we brothers and sisters with the same Heavenly Father.
Let that sink it for a moment.
This reality means that NONE of us are without family at Christmas time.
My challenge to you during this season is that you would take time to focus on your spiritual family. Recognizing first who your Heavenly Father is and how significant it is that he sent Jesus as the ultimate example of love, giving His son so He could have a relationship with you! Additionally my prayer is that your view of family would grow and that you would BE God’s family to others finding ways to love those who might be feeling like no one cares for them this Christmas.
Here are a few ideas that might help you do this in the coming season:
- Set an extra place setting for meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, symbolizing the idea of leaving room for Jesus. Perhaps acknowledge the seat before prayer and thank God for His sacrifice and gift for you. Framing your holidays in this way can help give you eyes to see the true meaning of the season and help you avoid getting lost in busyness.
- Consider adopting a family in your church that has nowhere else to go and invite them over to share Christmas dinner.
- Call your local University or Bible College to see if there are some “stranded” students you can invite over for a Christmas meal.
- Symbolically welcome a new baby into your home by singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, maybe have a decorative cradle to blow out, and have your family give baby Jesus gifts, explaining to each other what the significance of those gifts might be. If you are literally welcoming a newborn baby into your home then you may want to make use of some parenting resources for women to help you through this exciting but challenging period in your life.
- Consider having some gifts for people you don’t know under the tree. Things like a donation to the local foodbank, or care package for the homeless person in the parking lot. Pray together as a family and ask God to lead your heart and mind to how and who to give those gifts to.
Get creative and consider ways to BE God’s family this season. I’d love to hear what ideas your family comes up with! Email me at David@doingfamilyright.com
The Article was originally written for and published by the Fellowship Focus Magazine.