Thursday, December 3, 2009

Staying Focused...

I don't speak much about God or religion in this space. I respect the beliefs of others and typically don't discuss my personal beliefs on the topic of religion {I'm not sure if I even know the particulars of my beliefs most days anyway}. However, I feel that if I'm going to discuss Christmas here {which I fully intend to do} then I must discuss Christ. So, if you are not a Christian, feel free to skip this post and come back tomorrow. This season brings so much in the way of distractions. There are bells and songs and flashy lights, lists and parties, not to mention the shopping, wrapping, and baking. Really, it's so easy to "busy" ourselves into holiday oblivion only to wake up feeling somewhat empty on December if we didn't get what we would have liked for Christmas. This year, I'm wishing, hoping, and praying that my family and I get just what we're longing for the most: a deeper awareness of God's presence in our hearts. Isn't that what it's all about? Isn't that the only gift that will continue to deliver happiness and joy long after the tree and sparkles are gone? Isn't that the reason for the season?

Don't get me wrong. I am a huge fan of the sparkling, glittering, jingling of Christmas. And I think it's a wonderful way to draw attention and anticipation towards a wonderful religious long as we're staying focused on the meaning an true essence of the holiday.

This year, in an attempt to stay focused myself and in an attempt to direct the focus of my children, we {as a family} are practising a daily Advent devotional. Honestly, I think most of the words are way over the kid's heads. And most nights, Layla totally walks away and looses interest. But that's okay. Because the important part is that we are talking about God. Daily. And we're talking about His coming and preparing our hearts. So maybe they don't get it this year. But they will. And at a minimum, I feel like I'm placing emphasis on what really matters. And they {our children} learn from watching us. So if I can show my kids that I find the essential part of this crazy, wild, and beautiful season to be the humble birth of our Savior, hopefully they will also.

I did some research when looking for a daily Advent devotional online. I found one that is simple, sweet, and perfect for us. It's lovely, thoughtful, organized, and free of religious propaganda {which I am not in favor of!}. I've included a link on the left of this page. You can even sign up to receive a daily reminder via email {very helpful in lieu of the busyness}.
How do you stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas?


Cora December 3, 2009 at 10:07 AM  

I totally agree with you! It is hard to stay focused on Christ with all the commercial hype. But it is reason for the season and a wonderful one at that. We stay focused by attending church and doing special "gift giving" to children who are less fortunate and misplaced from their homes. My grannie always used to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Day!

keli.h December 3, 2009 at 11:49 AM  

this is a beautiful post, meg. and i feel the exact same way. i knew we had a common thread ... ;)


Jamie December 3, 2009 at 2:14 PM  

What a beautiful idea. It is so hard to remember what we are really celebrating when you are surrounded daily by the commercial side of the holiday.

Amy December 3, 2009 at 4:32 PM  

Maegan-I love this, so well put. It is definitely easy to get caught up in the hype, stress and busy-ness of the season and not remember the true importance of it. I love how you said that you're not even sure of the particulars of your own beliefs because that is just how I feel, it is hard to verbalize what I believe I guess.
With two little ones at home I am really trying to get the kids in on the action of making things for others, counting down the days until we get to see special friends and family. Also I just bought my first nativity scene and I think along with reading the books, having the nativity scene to look at let them "act out" as we're reading might help the kids gain a little more understanding.

barbara December 4, 2009 at 11:04 AM  

SO well said! i just keep telling myself that Christmas isn't about presents. it was so cute... the other day maria came up to me and told me she loved Jesus. my heart completely melted. good luck with your open house tomorrow :)

tahni candelaria December 4, 2009 at 4:18 PM  

thank you for this. and i don't really do very well remembering the reason for the season. i get so distracted and anxious about figuring out the perfect gift for each person in my life that i hardly care or recognize God's presence in my heart. i came to your blog via flickr, and i'm so glad i did. its a little sad because i rarely come across artistic people and bloggers who do talk about their faith in their blog.

Dane December 13, 2009 at 1:55 PM  

Thank you for this; it was exactly what I needed to find right now.