Monday, December 5, 2011

Five Steps to Creating a Stress-Free Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of celebration as we remember Jesus' birth and God's gift of love to us. However, the hectic pace can be overwhelming at times. With all the extra hassles and responsibilities for those of us involved in children's ministry, the Christmas season can seem like a flurry of activity. Here are few tips for creating a stress-free Christmas (or at least one that's not quite so stressFULL).
  1. Spend time with God. Don't give up your daily prayer and devotion time. Now's the time to fit in some extra moments with God, asking for His wisdom and guidance as the year comes to a close and you begin planning for next year. Your overflowing calendar combined with the hectic pace of the holidays can easily begin to encroach on your time the Lord. And Satan is more than pleased to see that happen. Instead, schedule extra time on your calendar for just you and God. Thank Him for sending His Son, Jesus and for all the blessings He has brought into your life.
  2. Plan time for family. During this busy season, when we're trying to fit in school, family, church, office, and neighborhood activities, it can be easy to go our separate ways as family members. So plan some family time—a weekly game night, dinners together, advent devotions, plus whatever additional activities your family enjoys doing together.
  3. Save time for yourself. As parents and ministry leaders, we can get in the habit of thinking and doing so much for others that we forget to take care of ourselves. Go for a walk or a run, enjoy a hot bath, read a short story, window shop, call a distant friend, sip a cup of peppermint green tea (or an espresso)—just take some time for you. Turn off your cell phone and place a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your office door, if necessary. After a brief break, you'll be energized and refreshed to meet the tasks at hand.
  4. Enjoy the place where God has you planted. When we're tired and overworked (and dealing with broken microphones and torn costumes), it's easy to become grumpy and complaining. Ask God to help change your lousy attitude to one of gratitude. Thank the many volunteers and parents who work behind the scenes to help with the myriad of details that make your Christmas events possible. And be sure to thank your coworkers and church staff members (don't forget the custodians and pastors) who lend a hand all year long. 
  5. Thank God for each little one in your care. Cover each one in prayer during this Christmas season. And ask for prayer support from your coworkers and volunteers. Through the power of God's Holy Spirit working in you, enthusiasm and the love of Jesus will be felt by everyone you come into contact with this Christmas!

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