Christmas is coming!
It may seem like ages away, but it'll soon be upon us. Are you ready?!
The title of this post will fill some with glee and others with abject terror. Whichever camp you fall into, the reality is that the shops are already filling up with festive goodies, and the big day will arrive before you have time to say, “Jingle Bells!”. So how can you prepare well?
Now is a good time to start setting aside a bit of money so you don’t have to bear the full cost in December or in the new year. It may even be worth staggering your gift buying so you can get ahead and beat the Christmas rush. Start wrapping them now and make your friends mad by telling them all about it! Many of us will be having a leaner Christmas this year, but that doesn’t mean it has to be less enjoyable. Strip back to the essentials and remember what Christmas is really about.
It may not be as easy to catch up with friends and family this year if Covid restrictions remain in place, so come up with a plan of how you can celebrate with those you love in smaller groups or via video link. It may be that you need to have several smaller celebrations rather than one big one. You could even decorate the tree, watch a festive film or have your Christmas dinner with relatives overseas via Zoom!
Don’t forget to include lonely and vulnerable people in your ‘getting together’ plans. Some people will be all alone on Christmas Day, while others will be struggling with grief and loss. Are there single or bereaved people in your church you could reach out to? Is there a project for the elderly or refugees you could support? Do you have friends who simply can’t afford to put dinner on the table or buy a gift for their kids? Offer to help in practical ways and keep them in your prayers.
You may not be as free to visit people or receive guests, but you can still make your home look really bright and festive. Why not start making some decorations early this year with a chai tea or mulled wine? This can be really fun, especially if you have kids… and glitter! If you dig out the fairy lights and start untangling them now you might be done by December! Why not think of ways to decorate doors, windows and the garden so passers-by can get a little festive buzz every time they walk past?
Christmas is a great opportunity to share the very reason behind it with those who don’t yet know Jesus. Perhaps you could make Christmas cards with a strong Christian message, go (social-distanced) carol singing or bake Christmas cookies and pop a verse in, then deliver them to your neighbours. Or maybe your family could stage a Nativity play and pop it up on social media. Be creative and have fun with it. Pray for opportunities and inspiration.
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”