5 Ways to Find Hope, Peace, Joy and Purpose This Christmas
We hope your November has been a month where you could reflect on the things that stir gratitude in your heart. The month of December is one that is typically full of parties, school programs, shopping, and a heaping pile of stress on top of your regular routine.
If Christmas has you feeling more pressure than peace, it’s probably time to slow down and focus on the blessings of the season. It’s okay to say “no” to the commercialism and the shopping season that seem to begin earlier and earlier each year.
This year, we’re encouraging you to focus on the significance of Advent through the month of December. Maybe your previous experience with Advent has only ever included a whimsical Advent calendar for your children to open and count down the days until Christmas, but Advent is the period of four Sundays (and the weeks before Christmas) where we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus into the world. It’s a time to remember the real meaning of Christmas.
No doubt, this holiday season stirs a lot of emotions for you and your children. That’s why it can be very beneficial to make time for quieter moments to prepare for the season of spiritual anticipation. Here are five simple ways you can turn the frenzy of Christmas into a much more enjoyable and peaceful season for you and your family.
5 Ways To Find Hope, Peace, Joy, and Purpose
1. Have a Plan
There are many free online Advent devotionals and resources to help you slow down each day and sit at Jesus’ feet. They are set up to give you and your children time to consider the blessings and encouragement that come from remembering the birth of Jesus, our Savior. Using a devotional outline will fill you with peace and point you toward the hope we have of the King of Kings coming again.
Need a recommendation?
The Good Morning Girls Advent Study includes:
– Weekly Devotions
– Assigned Daily Scripture Reading
– Daily Family Activities
– Journaling Pages
There’s also a kid’s version to accompany your guide. The Advent Study for Kids includes a memory verse for the week and some great ideas on how to help your children memorize the Bible. There is also a verse of the day, a lesson, activity, and prayer of the day.
2. Spend time in Prayer
Pray in the morning when you first wake up, before your feet even hit the floor. Commit your day to the Lord and ask him to help you with everything you are about to do. Pray again in your car on your way to work, then again before you eat your lunch, and again on your way home. Your prayers don’t have to be full of long, drawn-out words, they can be simple utterances of your dependence and need for God. Author Brennan Manning once said that our very breath can be a prayer, as we breathe in the word “Abba” and breathe out the word “Father” we still our hearts and call on God our Father to take care of us.
3. Meditate on Truth and Listen
Meditating on Scripture is the one way to keep your mind focused on God throughout the day. If you don’t do this one thing, you may find yourself drowning in the lies of despair. Find a few verses that speak to you and write them down. Post them where you can see them or keep them in your purse or your pocket.
Here are some to get you started:
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
When Jesus was facing persecution by the lies of Satan, He fought back with Scripture. We need to do the same. The enemy will not win!
4. Light an Advent Wreath
This may feel like “one more thing” but lighting an Advent wreath can become a beautiful tradition. Children typically get very excited about lighting the candles and taking turns snuffing them out. Read from your Advent devotional and spend a moment praying together as a family.
Here’s what each candle in the wreath represents:
Candle #1: PURPLE: Symbolizes hope—which we all need. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
Candle #2: PURPLE: Symbolizes faith. It is called the “Bethlehem Candle” as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
Candle #3: PINK: Symbolizes joy. It is called the “Shepard’s Candle,” and is pink because rose is known as the color for joy. The third Sunday is to remind us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus.
Candle #4: PURPLE: Symbolizes peace. It is called the “Angel’s Candle” reminds us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”
Candle #5: WHITE: Symbolizes the life of Christ. It is called the “Christ Candle” and is lit on Christmas Eve. The color white is for purity—because Christ is our sinless, pure Savior.
*OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Place a basket next to your Advent wreath. When you light your candles, pray for the people whose Christmas cards you receive that day. Keep all your cards in the basket throughout Advent and Christmas, so you remember to pray for those loved ones who are near and far.
Make a cup of coffee or tea, turn on some Christmas music, and make a list of all the things you hope you could accomplish in December. Christmas cards, gift-giving, cookie-baking, party-going, etc. Then, put them in order of most important to least. Do what will bring you the most hope, peace, joy, and purpose.
A celebration of Advent is not meant to be completely overwhelming. It shouldn’t be “just one more thing” to add to your stress and pressures. If it doesn’t seem like something that will help quiet your spirit, don’t do it. Or plan for it next year.
As we get closer to Christmas, we want to gently, lovingly let you know – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Even if you feel like you have absolutely no help…
Even if you are a widow…
Even if your children’s father left you…
Even if you can’t be with your children this Christmas…
Single Mom, you are not alone.
God has you. Let him hold you through this season. He is the best Father—for you and for your kids. We hope you can reflect on the reason we celebrate this season in the first place. Jesus came for you and for your children.