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photo: CCO public domain           graphic: Martha G. Brady

The first place to prepare for Christmas is internal.

I know. You hear me say it all the time. I’ll tell you this. As much as I say it here, I say it 10 times as much to myself!

Christmas is the time of year I am most likely to panic, feel overwhelmed, get teary, feel sentimental, remember the past, laugh… It is the most bipolar time of year even for those of us who aren’t bipolar!

It is a time of crazy busy-ness.

Of high expectations.

Of disappointment.

Of memories of those who have long since passed off the scene.

Now is when you want to prepare your heart and attitude…with Jesus

So, at the beginning of the month, setting the tone for the month in your heart is best for you and those around you.

The season of Advent…

the King of the Universe came to earth in human flesh!

What was Christ’s example?

This is the season of Advent. The Scripture in Philippians 2:5-11 is such a great reminder.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…

Philipians 2:5-9

I don’t know how this will affect your Christmas plans.

Maybe it will cause you to schedule your time more lightly so you can stop and pause a little bit more often.

Maybe it will cause you to do more for others who are needy and less for those who can give back to you.

Maybe it will cause you to focus more on spending quality time with people you love.

Maybe it will cause you to give of yourself instead of giving a lot of presents. Maybe presents are the way you give of yourself!

Plan for your Christmas season

No, I’m not encouraging micro-planning. But do plan.

I don’t know how GOD will guide you to spend your time this Christmas season. I’m sure He won’t want you to be scurrying around, stressing about the gifts. I’ve been there before. I’ve fallen into every trap…especially the ones that take the focus away from Christ.

So take the time at the beginning of this season that can get so crazy. Ask GOD to guide you and your family together in the ways you should spend this time to glorify Him.

Plan now with your spouse so you are both on the same page. Then later with your older children how you will spend your time this season.

What will your priorities be?

How will you work to maintain the spiritual aspect to your Christmas?

Who will you be giving to?

Who will you be helping as a family? as individuals?

How will you avoid the trap of placating and pleasing people rather than doing what you know GOD wants you to do? There are just so many hours in a day. You have a limited amount of energy, time and money. You can’t spent it pleasing others and trying to keep them happy at the expense of pleasing GOD.

Planning your priorities in terms of time, giving and programming will help make your Christmas more fun and meaningful…for all of you.

Have you made time to plan for the season?

It’s not too late.

**This was first published under the title Getting Ready for Christmas: Internal & Priorities. It was part of a 2014 series called Getting Ready for Christmas but as you can see, some of the titles were not up to par! Because it was part of the old series, I still have it, but this one is upgraded.