Christian devotionals connecting everyday mom moments with the truth of the gospel.

How To Create The Perfect Christ-Centered Christmas

How To Create The Perfect Christ-Centered Christmas

The Perfect Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes

My perfect Christmas took place in a very old, two-story house with white wooden siding and green trim. It had 12-foot ceilings, sturdy wood doors with glass knobs and skeleton key locks. Each bedroom had a large metal vent in the floor that provided an opening for the heat to rise from the first floor up to the second floor. When the vent was open, you could look straight down into the room below.

My bedroom was directly above the den, which is where the our “kid” Christmas tree was. It’s where all of our gifts were placed on Christmas Eve while my brother and I were sleeping. Every Christmas morning, my eyes would fly open at 5am. I would jump out of bed and look down the vent into the den to see my first glimpse of the Christmas gifts. My excitement was almost more than I could bare as I sprinted into my brothers room next door to wake him and tell him it was Christmas morning! Next stop was my parents’ bedroom. They would look at the clock and tell us they weren’t getting up until 7am. We were allowed to look in our stockings but couldn’t open any presents until they woke up.

Even though they said this every year, it didn’t hamper our excitement. My brother and I bounded down the stairs, tripping over each other as we plowed into the den. We would start dividing the presents based on whose name was on the gift tag. We’d play “guess that gift,” explore the surprises in our stocking, and look at the clock every five minutes to see how much longer we had to wait until our parents finally came downstairs. When my groggy parents finally came, we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and opened presents together. My daddy assembled toys for me that had a million parts and my brother and I would play together the entire morning. Around lunchtime, we’d leave to have a traditional Christmas meal with my step-mom’s side of the family. My papaw would read the nativity story out of his Bible with all of the family gathered around. When we were stuffed with delicious food, we’d head over to my dad’s side of the family for even more food and family time. It was a busy, perfect Christmas day.

The “Perfect” Christmas Through A Mom’s Eyes

I love thinking about Christmas as a child. It makes my heart happy and while my excitement has changed, I still love Christmas. But it’s not like it was when I was a child. I am the one that has to do the shopping and the wrapping. I get stressed about not finding a great gift within my budget for everyone that I want to buy for. I have to make sure my home is clean for when people come over to celebrate. I have to put in a ton of work prepping and cooking the perfect holiday meal, only to have to put in even more work to clean it all up afterwards. I have to figure out the perfect balance of giving my children gifts while training their hearts to realize that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ.

Real life mom confession: the adulting-version of Christmas makes me grumpy. Why can’t I just wake up and be showered with presents, snuggle up with my Bible, and eat warm cinnamon rolls that someone else cooks for me?

#momconfession: the adulting-version of #Christmas makes me grumpy. Click To Tweet

As a mom, I want to provide the same sort of excitement around Christmas that my parents provided for me. I want to keep Christ front and center. When they get older, I want their memories to make their hearts happy. But I also don’t want to be stressed out, exhausted, and broke every year around the holidays. Here’s the truth: There are only two ways that we can create a Christmas perfect for our family: chill out and re-prioritize.

How To Create The Perfect Christ-Centered Christmas

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-41 (NIV)

Jesus essentially told Martha to chill out and re-prioritize. That’s what he is telling us to do too.

Step 1: Chill Out.

It’s time for us to chill out and not drain ourselves trying to create a picture-perfect, magazine-cover version of Christmas morning for our families. Wrapping paper will be thrown everywhere. Your toilet doesn’t have to sparkle. Your cinnamon rolls don’t have to be made from scratch. You don’t need to blow your budget on gifts.

Sit down with your kids and enjoy a slow-paced morning. Read the nativity story together. Cuddle up with your husband as you watch your children play with their new toys and gadgets. Pray together with gratitude for what you have. If you’re late to your extended family get-together, so be it. It will be OKAY.

Jesus said that Mary made the better choice. She left the to do list and sat down with Jesus and the rest of her house guests. We need to do the same. Chill out. Sit down. Spend time with him. Spend time with your family. This is the first step to creating the perfect Christmas.

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Step 2: Re-prioritize.

When Jesus told Martha to re-prioritize, he was telling her to keep her eyes – her focus – on him. Real Life Mom Translation, Holiday Edition: Don’t forget why we are celebrating Christmas. And remember where your identity lies.

  • Don’t Forget Why We Celebrate Christmas. The reason we celebrate Christmas is to remember the day that Jesus Christ was born into the world. He came as a vulnerable, helpless baby and grew into a sinless man that sacrificed his life in order to save ours from an eternity separated from God. It’s easy to forget about this truth as we are busy shopping, decorating, cooking, and entertaining. A great way to keep Jesus as the main focus of the holiday is to observe the season of advent. Without getting into differences among denominations, it’s essentially a few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas where you focus on the first and second coming of Christ. There are many advent calendars for kids and adults, like this one, that have games, discussion prompts, and stories to help your family keep Christ in Christmas. You can also find many free advent printables online, like this one from Being Confident of This.
  • Our Identity is in Jesus Christ alone. If your child is bummed that you didn’t get him the hottest new video game, don’t let it ruin your Christmas. If your great aunt makes a passive comment about the toothpaste splatters on your bathroom mirror that you didn’t have time to clean, don’t take your frustration out on anyone, including her. If your Christmas tree lights go out on Christmas Eve, don’t spend hours crying while trying to fix it. The things that upset us are temporary and superficial compared to the incomprehensible joy we have in Christ. Imagine the worst possible thing that could go wrong on Christmas day. Now imagine sitting at Jesus’ feet in heaven for all eternity. A Christmas disaster doesn’t take away the eternity we’ve been promised with God. That truth makes the Christmas disaster seem so silly to get worked up over, right?

If we keep a Christ-centered, positive, loving perspective throughout the holiday season, so will our family. They will remember happy times instead of drill-sergeant mom making sure the day’s production went off as smoothly as a Broadway play.

Here’s the challenge to create a perfect Christmas for our kids: Chill out. Re-prioritze. Remember why you are celebrating. Find your identity in Christ alone.

Perfect #Christmas Challenge: Chill out. Re-focus. Remember you're celebrating Jesus. Click To Tweet

Are you in?

If you enjoyed this devotional, check out Messy Tired Love’s “What Christmas Was Really Like For Momma Mary” devotional!

Resources To Deepen Your Faith

If you are interested in resources to deepen your faith and help you parent your little blessings, you can find our top picks on our resources page. They make perfect gifts for you or those on your list!

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13 thoughts on “How To Create The Perfect Christ-Centered Christmas”

  • “Don’t Forget Why We Celebrate Christmas.” Yes! We kept our Christmases low-key and about Jesus. One of our traditions was one we created around the idea of advent candles. After a couple years forgetting to light the advent candles week-by-week, we decided to light them all on Christmas Eve. We did that and took communion, and were amazed at how special it was. Over the next year we created readings to use with the candles. This time on Christmas Eve we put “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” on the stereo, lit all the candles in the living and dining rooms, turned down the lights, took turns reading and lighting each advent candle, and took communion. By the time we were through, such a holy hush had fallen over all four of us that it became the favorite of all our traditions. I revel in the fact that my kids, now grown, keep it in each their own homes to this day ♥

  • I’m so good at being Mary all the other times of the year, like almost to the point of being irresponsible. I’m the this-place-is-a-wreck-but-the-kids-are-having-fun mom most of the time. So why do the holidays turn me into a cross between the grumpy Grinch and some crazy, frantic, high-strung mom?

    We had those vents in the old farmhouse we lived in until I was about 10. We would tie small toys to yarn and lower them into the living room below my bedroom.

  • Well said. So many of those things you shared ring true in my own family and heart… definitely something to be praying about before hand. Thanks for sharing.

  • I needed this post so much! My kiddos are getting older, and I’ve finally started feeling the pull to make the “perfect” Christmas happen! Thank you for redirecting my thoughts and convicting my heart! My favorite point you made was…”Jesus said that Mary made the better choice. She left the to do list and sat down with Jesus and the rest of her house guests.” What an amazing example!Thank you! Be blessed! <3

  • I can so relate to this! I have a 20 month old and I’m 32 weeks pregnant. We have kept it really low key this year. My toddler has a children’s nativity set, so we play with that and talk about how Jesus came to earth as a baby, how Mary was Jesus’ mom like I’m my toddler’s mom, etc.

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