Christmas pic 1This week, we are concluding our beautiful series of very special holiday posts! If you have missed any of them, click here for the total collection of writings…All are from remarkable women whose words will be sure to inspire, encourage, and give a breath of fresh air to your spirit during this holiday season!

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go…”

Well, it is, isn’t it? We went to the mall today and it felt like it was the weekend before Christmas rather than November (as I write this). The crowds were CRAZY and the stores crammed full of Christmas paraphernalia. I will be honest, there are moments when it makes me cringe.

I love this time of year. I love Thanksgiving, how it gives us a chance to refocus our hearts and our minds on our Father, the Giver of all good things. And I love Christmas, and the opportunity it affords us to celebrate the beautiful life of a baby born in a manger, the One sent to bring peace on earth. Ladies, it is indeed “the most wonderful time of the year.” But at times, it feels as though the season has been hijacked, and instead of being a time of focused worship for us and our families, it becomes a feast of the flesh…We want to serve the tastiest food, have the most festive home, give the best teachers’ gifts; our kids want the newest, fanciest gadgets—and on and on—and we lose sight.

So, how do we keep our focus and provide meaningful opportunities for our families to extravagantly pour out the love of Jesus?

First, it is so important to be intentional. Proverbs 21:5 states, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.” We do not want to find ourselves impoverished at the end of this beautiful season because we did not plan. What are some things your family can do to show the love of Christ? Does it mean setting aside money all year so you can buy gifts for a family in need? Or, does it mean choosing a weekend you can serve at a local nursing home, or open your home to your neighbors? Whatever it is, make sure it happens.

Next, let your children lead. I have a friend whose son just turned seven. Instead of gifts for his birthday, he asked if people could give money for him to give to a local homeless shelter. He wants to be sure people are able to have a Thanksgiving dinner. The hearts of our children are tender towards the things of God. Jesus told us this when He said that we must be like them to be saved.   If your child wants to give to someone less fortunate than him, let him. If she wants to forgo a gift in order to bless someone else, let her. You’ll be amazed at what they are willing to do.

Lastly, but most importantly, hear God. There is so much out there. You can stuff shoeboxes or buy gifts for kids whose names are on an angel tree. You can serve food at homeless shelters, give food to food banks or donate money to the Salvation Army. We must, must hear from God. And, we must trust Him in His plan for our family. Suffice it to say, the things He asks us to do, or not do, will not look like what He has for other families.

I’d like to leave you with an idea of something we have felt led to do since we moved into our neighborhood. A week or so before Christmas we put together goodie bags, sometimes with homemade goodies, sometimes store-bought; it all depends on the year and mama’s stress level. The kids decorate Christmas cards and we pray specifically for the folks who will receive them. We then deliver them to our neighbors. At each home we sing a carol or two. I do not know who enjoys it more, our family, or the neighbors, but it is meaningful—to all of us—and the name of Jesus is exalted.

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bio picMonica Patrick is our guest writer this week, and it is a pleasure to have her. She lives in Fort Worth, TX. She has been married to her husband Charles for 8 years.  They have 4 kiddos, and they homeschool, which keeps them pretty busy.  🙂

What do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, sewing, and movies with my hubby.

What area of ministry are you most passionate about, and why?
I am most passionate about people knowing Jesus.

What is one quirky fact about you?
I love magazines…no, like really, really love magazines.  I could buy one every single time I go to the store, but I refrain.