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Erin Stewart’s daughter checks for a treat inside their family’s daily service Advent calendar.
Every December, without fail, I start out with the intention of doing all the things.
I plan our month of holiday fun down to a baking extravaganza, elaborate gingerbread houses and the high jinks of the elves that will visit our house in the days leading up to Christmas. And then, without fail, I give out around the middle of the month. I lay in bed at night cursing the stupid elves that I forgot to move to some hilarious new location. I put off making those neighbor treats because it just feels too daunting, and the gingerbread houses look pretty rough because I’ve dipped into the candy stash a few too many times.
Fortunately, just about the time I start resenting all there is to do to “make” Christmas jolly, I remember that it’s not up to me to make it fun. In fact, it’s not about having fun at all. And while I do love a lot of the secular traditions of the holiday season, once I decide I can’t do it all, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to remember why I’m doing it in the first place.
And even though I go through this same routine each year as if I have amnesia, I usually have my epiphany about the true meaning of Christmas just in the St. Nick of time to refocus myself and my family on Jesus Christ.
Here are a few things we do in our home to make Christ the center of our Christmas.
1. Gift to Jesus. Each year, we start the season with a family home evening about why we celebrate Christmas. We talk about what gifts we would have brought to baby Jesus and what gifts we can give him now. Then, we write one specific gift we want to give him during December and put it in a special box that is always the first beneath the tree.
On Christmas Eve, we open the box and talk about the gift we’ve been trying to give. My gift this…