Monthly Archives: November 2014

Kids, Contentment and Christmas…

Black Friday is coming and the lists are being composed.  Now might be a good time to talk about finding contentment in Christmas… is that even possible?

It’s hard to make the birth of our Savior the focus when there are so many other attractions.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love almost everything about the traditional Christmas celebrations.  I love the presents (giving and receiving).  I love the tree and the lights.  I love the cookies and candy and the stories of Santa, Rudolf and Frosty.  I don’t like Fruitcake.  ANY Fruitcake.  I don’t like it when people try to make me like Fruitcake…but I digress…

If we’re going to make Christmas about Jesus, if we’re going to teach our kids to be content with whatever they find under the tree and crush the gift hungry materialistic animal that rears it’s head this time of year…we have to be brutally honest and face the facts.

The business community in America learned long time ago that Christmas was their pot of gold.  Our children are particularly vulnerable to their savvy marketing strategies.   It’s not their fault they’re lured in.  It’s our job to be intentional about helping our kids navigate the tsunami that bombards them from October to December… how are we doing with that?

Here are some ideas to help:

*Limit TV time—the ads draw them in.  Seriously, if you limit TV time you will be amazed at how many things they don’t know they should ask for!

*Focus on giving rather than receiving (volunteer as a family to help the needy in your community, give to needy children etc).

*Set a budget and let your kids know the limits.  We had our kids write their lists and prioritize what they wanted.  If they asked for a big-ticket item we would let them know that (if we could afford it) they may only have that gift under the tree.  When my daughter was little she loved lots of gifts.  She often opted for the inexpensive gifts so she could have more presents to open.  My son liked the bigger ticket items and was totally content with just a few gifts.

*Most important:  wrap every Christmas tradition in the anticipation of the birth of the Savior of the World.  We can give our kids tools to help cultivate contentment, but true contentment will forever elude them if they don’t find it in Jesus above all else.

Finally dear friends, pursue experiencing contentment this Christmas Season yourself.  Let the Lover of your soul fill your deepest needs and heartfelt longings.  If you find contentment in Jesus, your kids will follow your lead.


Contentment:  An internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances—Holman Bible Dictionary.

…I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty of little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.      Philippians 4:11b-13 NLT

Tips for actually enjoying Thanksgiving…

Thanksgiving is next week.  How are you doing with that?


Dreading it?

Under the pile?

Can’t wait?

All of the above?


I’m all of the above:


My son is coming home from college—super excited!

My Mother-in-Love is coming for a couple days—happy but stressed about having a super clean house.

Speaking of the house… my kitchen is in the middle of a DYI remodel and doesn’t have a sink or a dishwasher (well technically it does… me… washing dishes… in the bathroom…) –thankful for the promise of a new kitchen but dreading Thanksgiving meal prep and clean up…


So I’ve decided to step up the effort to “give thanks in all things”.  It will be so easy to focus on all the things that don’t get done the way I want them done.  Our Thanksgiving won’t be the picture perfect Hallmark Thanksgiving, but maybe I’ll like it even better!


When I go to bed next Thursday night, what memory of the day will make me happy?


Seeing the one’s I love across the dinner table.

Lot’s of laughter and great conversation around the table.

Good food…

…Served on paper plates… 🙂


I’ll clean the house as best I can but I refuse to stress about it.  My daughter and I love to cook and I’m confident the food will be amazing no matter what it’s served on.  Everyone will pitch in to wash dishes and a memory will be made!


The story of Mary and Martha comes to mind.  I don’t want to miss the important stuff by focusing on the things that, in the long run, don’t matter.  I’m praying this for you too.


To help us both, Discover God 4Kids is providing free downloads for Table Name Cards, Food Cards and some really fun Table Talk questions to help jump start fun conversations around the table.  We have a tradition of sharing what we’re thankful for as we eat our meal.  I think these questions will spark some new ideas for sharing and lots of laughter!  Click on the link above and scroll down to the pic that says, “Free Downloads”.


Happy Thanksgiving dear friends.  May God richly bless your time with family and friends.


And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.               Ephesians 5:20 NLT