Spiritual leadership has never been easier than it is right now during this holiday season. Don’t know how to lead your family spiritually? Then this is the time to practice! Get ready to roll your sleeves up, dig in, and give your leadership skills a workout!
During the holidays, our families are looking for something more meaningful from us. Their hearts are more open, more teachable, and more vulnerable. The holidays are overflowing with traditions, and they should be. Family traditions matter. The repetition of the same activities creates strong memories and emotions. Traditions are what families look forward to and remember back on.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is to load the family up in our mini-van and take a drive. We fill a thermos with rich, hot cocoa, stuff a bag with some fresh homemade cookies, and change into our pajamas for the drive. We have a great park nearby that has an amazing Christmas drive-through light display. There are literally hundreds of unique displays in this park and every year they add a few new ones. We love driving through with the windows down, singing Christmas hymns, and munching down on Christmas goodness.
After the drive through the park we make our way to our State Capital which is always beautifully decked out. The kids think that walking through the Capital in their PJ’s is very cool. Then we go out to the Capital lawn to look at an amazing manger display that features full-sized, hand-carved wooden figures. When our oldest son was little, every time we passed the capital he would point out “that’s where Jesus was born.” We still get a laugh out of it. On our way home we go past our previous homes and talk about our Christmas memories from each.
A spirit of contentment. Another thing I do intentionally throughout the holidays is help my kids keep an attitude of contentment and a grateful heart. We are living in a culture of little consumers. It’s tough to teach our own children to be content with what they have.
The first step is to help them develop a heart of gratitude. We need to show them by example what it means to be thankful for everything we have, beginning with our relationship with our Savior and then with our families and each other. If you practice gratitude in front of your kids, they will learn it from your example. Especially during the holidays, our kids will be bombarded with commercialism and the “Buy! Buy! Get your parents to buy this for you!” messages. We have to combat those messages with the truth we know.
Another thing we do to develop a heart of giving is to always stop and let the kids toss some money into the Salvation Army kettle every where we go. They love to give our money away and we think it’s a great investment to both the giver and receiver.
The Incarnate Christ. With Christmas, of course, the most important job we have is to communicate to our family that Jesus came to Earth, born of a virgin, He was born to die for our sins, and to be resurrected. That, guys, is the message of Christmas. At my house, we also do Advent candles at dinner. The kids love lighting the candles. Some nights we get through the study and some nights we don’t, because conversations drift, questions come up, or attention spans wane. Did you know you can even do the Advent in 5 days or less? One year we actually did it in one night.
Finishing doesn’t count nearly as much as getting started. In the end it’s not about the one thing we do, it’s about all the things we do, big and small, that continually remind us and our kids about the Reason for the season.
- How do you keep Christ in Christmas at your house?
- What are your favorite holiday traditions?
- If your family were famous for a Christmas recipe what would it be? Ours is chocolate peppermint pinwheels. Willing to share your recipe? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.