With the changing of the leaves, the smell of pumpkin spice, and the beginning of brisk cold winds, I am reminded of how close we are to the holidays. As we prepare for school closures and family gatherings, as parents we can become overwhelmed with the pressure of getting everything right during the holidays. We become bombarded with shopping lists, holiday activities and school programs, and find it hard to enjoy the special moments the holidays bring. While we more importantly remember to not forget the reason for the season, we however forget how the seasons bring one of the most wonderful gifts home, our families and children. I encourage you to do these few things as parents in preparation for the holiday:
Take a few minutes or more out the day to just enjoy interaction and play with your kids. A lot of times during our weekly routines and schedules we miss out on small milestones and fun and quirky things our kids may do or say when they have our undivided attention. God calls children a gift, every now and then we need to be reminded that although family life brings on a lot of responsibility and added pressure, we are still blessed to be parents. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17 NIV).
Take time for yourself. While you may be wondering how this can be done in such a busy season, time for ourselves can come in all forms and doesn’t require a lot of time. It can be sitting in the car for a bit after browsing and shopping through online ads and stores. It could be walking in and grabbing a cup of coffee and enjoying it by yourself instead of rushing through the drive through. Or it could even be reading an article or story and reflecting on it for a bit to bring things back into perspective on the cusp of a hectic day at home. Our need for presence with the Father is important to our spiritual vitality. He tells us “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy lade, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28 NIV).
Share your thoughts of gratitude with your kids. This has always been a favorite of mine. Sharing what we are thankful for in front of others especially our children can be more rewarding and special than we know. We are often so busy with sending messages via text or email, or whatever other technological device that we love, that we forget the power of the spoken word of gratitude and its impact on those we love. The selfless act of expression of thankfulness does a stirring up in hearts as it was designed to do so. While our kids may ask for things that are on a lengthy list, it is the memories we make with them that they will truly remember. “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:16-17 NIV)”.