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My name is Cheryl
In the midst of shopping for presents, decorating and baking, and preparing for guests, it’s easy to get stressed out and exhausted during the holidays, forgetting to fit Jesus into the holidays. God knows it’s difficult for us to keep sight of our priorities. Our temptation is to get too busy.
That’s why, as a family, it’s good to set aside time to invite God’s presence into our holiday plans and celebrations. I love what my friends Doug and Amy do each year before the holidays begin. They gather their family and ask the Lord to bring order not only to their schedules but also to their hearts, attitudes, and priorities as they come together.
I’ve seen what a big difference it makes to visit our children’s homes or welcome them into ours when we’ve prayed in advance—prayed that we would find opportunities to talk about things that really matter. Moreover, we have fun, that we’d find ways to encourage them in the midst of their busy lives, that we would honor Christ our Savior as we celebrate His birth. We can fit Jesus into the holidays.
With holiday family gatherings just around the corner, here are some creative ideas to help your family pray together and welcome God’s Spirit afresh into your hearts and home:
My friend Lucy, the mother of two toddlers, says that when planning family prayer time during the holidays, it’s best to keep it simple. “Pray during times when the family is already together,” she says, “such as at mealtime or while driving in the car on the way to school or while out shopping.”
When wrapping gifts with my family, I like us to pray together over the person who will receive the present. We pray that the gift will be a blessing and that the Lord will meet their intangible needs as well. She fits Jesus into the holidays.
In the Johnson family, Mom takes the kids out shopping, then stops at a coffee shop, where they talk and pray about others the Lord might want them to help during the holidays. Later, Dad takes the kids to a local restaurant; they order something to eat while they talk about the meaning of the birth of Christ.
It doesn’t have to be long or complicated to fit Jesus into the holidays. To hear one another talking to God opens our hearts and invites God’s presence in ways nothing else can. For those at the table (guests or family members) who don’t understand your walk with Christ, being a part of your family prayer may stir their hearts to their own needs for a relationship Jesus.
“During our New Year’s retreat,” Debbie said, “We identify Scriptures we want to pray for each child and specific things we want to ask the Lord to do for them. We compile a list of Scripture promises for each child. We keep these in file folders and add to them each year. This becomes our personalized guide to prayer for our family throughout the year.”
I’ve learned, when feeling overwhelmed with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, to stop and breathe short prayers to God throughout the day: “Lord, I worship You.” “Holy Spirit, fill me afresh and anew.” “Jesus, help me abide in You.”
So, this holiday season I’ve written a prayer to help my family and me keep the Lord and His Word at the center of life. You may want to pray it daily or post it for each family member. Or it might inspire you to write a holiday prayer of your own.
Lord, we worship You—wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Firstly, we welcome you into our hearts and home at this special time of year. Help us to avoid the frenzy and commercialism of the season and to stay focused on the things that really matter. Cause our thoughts, our words, our schedules, and our gift-giving to honor You.
May we, as a family, be mindful not only of our own needs and wants but of the needs of others. Wee pray for those who are lonely, brokenhearted, or in financial difficulty. Lastly, come fill us afresh with Your Holy Spirit and empower us to take the Good News of Jesus Christ, our Savior, wherever we go this Christmas season.
Excerpts from © 2016 MTL Magazine. Used by permission.
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