Our family is in the middle of a major renovation. We broke ground in June, hoping it would be completed by Thanksgiving. Our plans include a mudroom, an open concept kitchen, updated bathrooms, and much needed storage for our 1930s home. We are still weeks away from completion and I find myself hoping for a Christmas miracle.
Most of our belongings are boxed up and everyday living is confined to our dining room and basement. Almost every room in the home is being worked on. It is highly unlikely I will be decorating for Christmas this year. The place where we usually put our tree is still quartered off, electrical outlets are inaccessible, and dust accumulates daily. There is no room for wreaths or garland.
It has been a wonderful adventure, however it has taken up time, energy, and money that is often spent elsewhere this time of year. There are still so many details that need to be thought through and decisions yet to be made. I feel the pull to barrel through this month with my eye on the goal, a finished kitchen and a functional house, life back to normal.
It just doesn’t feel like Christmas.
I want my family to know that Jesus and Christmas don’t get pushed aside just because our life gets busy or didn’t work out the way we planned.
Although we may not be able to decorate the house or bake holiday cookies, there are a few other things we can do to celebrate advent and keep our eyes on Jesus. Having a house that is being re-modeled has allowed us to keep things simple and focus on what really matters this season. Although we may not be able to decorate or bake holiday cookies, there are a few other things we can do to celebrate advent and keep our eyes on Jesus.
Keeping it Simple: 3 Christmas Activities for Remembering Jesus
1. Listen to Christmas music. This one may seem obvious but it is the one I often forget. Out of habit, I listen to my favorite podcasts and streaming music stations – and sometimes I forget that many offer some fantastic, free Christmas playlists. My husband is a different story. When Thanksgiving rolls around, he plays nothing but Christmas music in the car. We enjoy singing the songs together.
2. Display a manger scene. While I may not have a mantle to hang stockings or room to set up a tree, I can absolutely find a place to display the Nativity. Amidst the chaos in our home, this serves as a powerful reminder that we are indeed counting down the days until Christmas, celebrating the birth of our Prince of Peace.
3. Read and share Christmas books. Books are best experienced snuggled up under a warm blankets and if possible next to a roaring fire. Our Christmas book collection includes Goodnight, Manger by Laura Sassi, The Legend of the Christmas Cookie by Dandi Daley Mackall, Peace on Earth, written and illustrated by Mary Engelbreit, and The Perfect Christmas Pageant by Joyce Meyer.
This year we have added a few favorites to our list. One of them includes Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story, written by New York Times bestselling author Sally Lloyd-Jones — now available as a board book, which makes it a perfect gift for my 6-month old niece. Even thought my kids are much older, they still enjoy the building climax of praise as all of creation acknowledges the coming King.
Read this beautiful passage from the book:
The skies shouted it to the seas that thundered it to the waves that roared it to the great white whales that sang it to the starfish in the deep. And tiny sandpipers danced it on shining sands… “It’s time! It’s time!” On one quiet night, creation whispered a secret. Grass and bees, robins and trees all spread the word. Sheep told their young while angels sang the song to the shepherds. Hushed news of a miracle echoed to the ends of the earth. The moment had come. The long-awaited child had arrived! Creation cried out in celebration, but only a few people heard. Only a few joined nature’s chorus, a song in praise of the newborn King.
Christmas may not look how it has for us in years past; however, there is one that that will remain the same. The excitement I foster in my family during this special time of year, celebrating Christ, and counting the days until His birth.
Watch this video of Sally Lloyd-Jones reading Song of the Stars (remember that this is on YouTube in case you need to occupy your child with your mobile device for a few minutes this month).
Watch the Video for Song of the Stars
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Maybe this year Christmas at your home feels and looks differently as well. How are you keeping it simple this year? What are you doing to focus on Jesus with your family?