Many of us LOVE Christmas time. I do!
- the songs about Jesus’ birth
- the festive decorations
- the fellowship at church
- family celebrations
- preparing gifts for those we love
- giving to those in need
- contemplating Jesus Christ – the greatest Gift of all
There are an infinite number of ways that people celebrate Christmas. Each culture has its own traditions. Each family has its own traditions. Trying to merge your preferences and your husband’s preferences and make all the extended family happy can be a bit tricky sometimes.
I’d like us to keep a few things in the forefront of our hearts and minds as we celebrate this Christmas season:
- How can I most honor and glorify Christ?
- How can I honor my husband?
- How can I bless others?
I pray that God might help us to see our hidden motives and to purify them so that these motives – honoring Christ and our husbands and blessing others – are our primary motives.
I pray that we might:
- make Christmas about celebrating Him and all He has done for us
- not become greedy or selfish about getting gifts
- not become materialistic about how we celebrate with our children or families
- not get stressed about material things
- focus on relationships
- be willing to give up worldly expectations and not put ourselves in a box thinking we HAVE to do what we have always done before
- focus on experiences together
- make yummy food, but not overextend ourselves trying to do so much so that we become resentful and grumpy
- not focus on commercialism and STUFF, but on God
- find ways to share with those in need
- find ways to make Christmas Christ-centered for our children
SOME SUGGESTIONS OF WAYS TO HONOR OUR HUSBANDS
- do not exceed the Christmas budget
- do not ask him for things that would strain the family’s financial resources
- do not complain about the budget
- do not be selfish
- be flexible and willing to consider his feelings and treat his ideas and preferences like they are important to you
- be thankful for whatever you are able to do to celebrate
- share what you would like to do, your desires, your preferences, your feelings in a friendly, non-pressuring way ahead of time with your husband
- give him plenty of TIME to think about what he wants to do
- do not argue and fight about issues – talk about things calmly and briefly share your heart and then allow your husband to lead if there is disagreement (unless he is asking you to clearly sin)
- if he wants to have a different schedule from yours or celebrate in a different way – do everything you can to honor his preferences
- if there are specific things you would like for Christmas, you can write him a friendly little email/note and mention a few suggestions that you would enjoy
- share with him things the children might like if you are planning to give them gifts
- if there are particular things he does NOT like to do – please don’t force those things on him – allow him the freedom to say no and accept his answer graciously
- check with him before making plans with extended family
- if there are people in the extended family who tend to attack you, try to stay in the same room with your husband. Generally, these people will only attack if they can get you isolated by yourself. It will take a lot more courage for them to attack you directly in front of your husband. If they actually do that, you can look to him and allow him to handle it. This is one way of staying under his covering and protection if there is a hostile environment in the extended family. Be sure that you are treating his family with respect yourself. No yelling, screaming, name-calling, blaming, accusing, insulting, criticizing, teasing in a hateful way, complaining or arguing. Use a pleasant tone of voice. Extend honor to his family.
- if he doesn’t want a tree – ok! Or if he wants a live tree or an artificial tree – share what you would like and why if it is different – but then be cooperative if something is important to him
- if he likes to have “Santa” for the kids, and you think that is unbiblical – share with him, “I would like the focus to be on Jesus, not Santa. But if that is important to you, then we will do things the way you prefer. Thanks for wanting to make Christmas special for the children.” (Read Romans 14 for ways to handle our husbands having different convictions from us.)
- if he doesn’t want to have “Santa” for then kids, but you do, please share with him what you would like, but then respectfully honor his desire not to focus on Santa.
BLENDED FAMILIES (some suggestions to consider – you are welcome to share wisdom that works in your family. I will have a post about dealing with exes in a few days.):
Obviously – things are a lot more tricky when there are exes to deal with.
As much as possible, please seek to honor your current husband’s wishes and preferences.
- try to have the schedule your current husband wants to have
- check with your current husband before agreeing to things with your ex
- show your current husband that he has nothing to worry about when you do have to speak to your ex, be completely transparent and trustworthy
- if your current husband would rather be the one communicating with your ex – try to cooperate with what he thinks is best
If you have an ex who is the dad of your children – please seek to honor and respect him, too. Your current husband needs to have first priority with your respect. But, your children also need to see you respect their dad, too.
With your ex, some things to remember:
- use a pleasant tone of voice
- have a friendly facial expression
- focus on a desire to be cooperative
- repay evil with good (Romans 12:9-21 may be a great chapter to read this month!)
- do not take revenge
- pray for him if he mistreats you
- bless him if he curses you
- do not respond sinfully to any sin he might commit against you – you are no longer a slave to sin! You have crucified your sinful nature and put on your new nature in Christ!
- realize that God may want to use your respect and godly behavior and attitude to draw your ex to Himself
- be flexible! If he wants the children Christmas morning – ok! You can celebrate with them Christmas Eve morning or Christmas evening or the next day and make it very special and memorable.
The greater gift for your children is to have PEACE and harmony between their parents – not which parent is with them for 30 minutes on a certain day when they open stockings. Of what benefit is it to have a huge fight and call each other dreadful things and yell and scream at each other to try to keep the other one from having the children Christmas morning? The greater gift is PEACE – not material things and not a certain time on a certain day on the calendar. Let’s keep our priorities on Christ!
- THANK HIM for being the father of your children and for being involved in their lives
- praise him for anything he does right
- as much as possible, present a united front with him in front of your children
- do not undermine his parenting in front of the children, if you have a concern, please mention it to him in private (maybe after discussing it with your current husband)
- do not call him ugly names
- do not use a hateful tone of voice
- do not criticize him and cut him down
- encourage him, build him up and use your words to give life