Christmas is often where people start their journey to make their holidays more sacred—holy and set apart. There is a reason this holiday is so special—it’s the one when we celebrate the coming of Jesus! It’s a seemingly simple story, a baby born in a
This holiday has become hyper-commercialized, and the cultural celebrations of the holidays have made it hard to find the origins of this day. On top of that, it’s hard to not get caught up in the magic of the season. Most of us love this season and yet we really struggle to break from our traditions, our ways of doing things in the past, and forge a new way. While our culture is very much removing the celebration of Christ from Christmas, it has very little intention of removing Christmas. Sadly, the holiday is becoming mostly about parties, sweets, decorations, and a pile of presents that puts last year’s to shame. We have gotten so very far from what this holiday is about.
I am so proud of you for taking steps to redeem it. Choosing to make this holiday more sacred is not an easy one. In fact, it might be the hardest one of all because oftentimes your choices toward sacred will feel like an affront to others, even others who believe the same as you.
My greatest advice to
Why Do We Celebrate Advent?
Christmas is all about celebrating the coming of Jesus. Choosing to participate in Advent is one of the best ways to do that because it’s an intentional practice of focusing on His coming.
Traditionally Advent begins the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. A very common practice during Advent is the use of Advent candles. You begin with five candles and light a candle each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, and then the final one on Christmas Day. This practice helps us to visually experience the coming of the Light of the World. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So we light candles to celebrate that His coming removes darkness and leads us to walk in the light of life. This is what we celebrate at Christmas—the Light has come!
What About Your Traditions?
But what do we do with all the other traditions? Some of those traditions feel like home and you just can’t imagine parting with them. Good news—you don’t have to! Not having an overtly spiritual connection to each and every tradition doesn’t mean those traditions can’t be sacred.
For example, one of our favorite traditions each year is our annual cookie-decorating contest. On Christmas Eve we bake sugar cookies and get out all the decorating supplies. Then three generations gather around a table and decorate cookies for hours. We tease each other for the not-so-cute creations and applaud one another’s when we have a creative genius moment. The kids are as into the competition as the grown-ups. After we are done we all pick our best ones, and we post them online for our friends and family to vote on. It has become a way of including others into our holidays, especially the Sacred Holidays online community. They choose the winner and then the winner gets bragging rights for the whole year. This year, my seven-year-old daughter legitimately won and it got a bigger smile out of her than any present she opened on Christmas morning. I share this to show you that anything can be made sacred.
Should All Your Activities Connect to the Bible?
Christmas activities can be intentionally spiritual, or they can not be, depending on the moment. After all, Jesus sometimes gathered in spaces with people He cared for and simply broke bread and talked, and other times He “went there” on a spiritual level. Oftentimes we try to over-spiritualize the holidays in an attempt to bring greater glory to God. While these intentions aren’t bad at all, we must keep an eye on our tendency to religiously script certain moments in ways even Jesus didn’t. In some sacred moments, we love God and others by verbally connecting an activity to the Bible or the Lord. In other sacred moments, we love God and others by simply enjoying an activity. Jesus’ days were filled with both types of sacred moments! At the end of the day, only the Lord’s leading can decide what’s best for each activity you do.
However, remember, dear friend, you have nothing to prove to your Father, others, or yourself. You are already loved by Him just as you are. The Christmas story sets the stage for no pretense—it’s a simple story of a baby born in a
So come just as you are. Offer just what you have to offer this year. But most of all, let’s celebrate because the wait is over—the Messiah has come!
Do you enter every holiday wanting it to be meaningful for your family, only to find that it feels chaotic with no direction? Holidays are meant to be more than chaos with glimpses of grace; they are meant to draw us closer to God and one another.
We want all the whimsy and joy the holidays held when we were children before life crowded it out. We want the holidays to reflect our love for Jesus and reveal the grace that has been lavished on us, but life is so busy that setting a game plan just doesn’t happen No more. It’s time to stopping trying to survive the holidays or overindulge the whimsy, and instead live in the abundant life He called us to live.
Sacred Holidays is part book and part resource: meant to help you avoid what has tripped you up in the past and give you insights, tips, and tools to make your holidays less chaotic and more about loving Jesus and others. Don’t let your holidays be marked by regret, whimsy whirlwinds, or survival mindset. Let’s celebrate every holiday together purposefully and worshipfully – loving Jesus and others well in every moment.