Christmas. What a special day each year. Christmas comes with such anticipation. As the days move through November toward December, anticipation builds for all ages. We hope for the perfect day – even though we know they don’t hardly exist. We prepare. We sacrifice. We enjoy the day together both in our immediate circumstances and through social media with others. And twenty-four hours later, Christmas is over and the waiting begins for the next Christmas.
Christmas is bigger than just a day on the calendar. So many of us have traditions we share with family and friends. Often our calendars bulge with special events, parties, programs, and church services. There’s so much preparation from gift buying to meal planning, from decorating to traveling, from old to new traditions. Memories are made and relived through stories, pictures, tree decorations, and special recipes.
Christmas lives in so many mini moments. The glimmer in a child’s eyes. The special pajamas. The smell. The expression as a package is opened. The shared reading of the Christmas story. The laughter. The tears. The sparkle of the lights. The smile. The look of gratitude. The hug.
For many, Christmas also marks firsts. The first Christmas together. Baby’s first Christmas. The first year away from home. The first year past divorce. The first year without a loved one. The first Christmas after following Christ. There are many firsts that become moments of exhilaration and moments of heartache. But, it is still Christmas. There’s still something sweet about the time even when things aren’t as perfect as we wish.
Although every day can’t be Christmas for obvious reasons, there is something special about the day that is worth capturing every other day of the year. Allow me to make a few suggestions on how you can make every day more like Christmas.
How Can You Make Every Day Be More Like Christmas?
- Focus on Christ.
Possibly more than any other day of the year besides Easter, Christmas is a day where we pause to celebrate Jesus. It may be through reading the Bible, singing a song, saying a special prayer, reflecting on His willingness to come, His self-sacrificial life, among so many other ways we focus on Christ. It is a specific time where we draw our attention to our dear Savior – and it seems so natural. This is the foundational step to make every day more like Christmas.
- Take Time for Family and Friends.
Think how much effort goes into the celebrations of Christmas. We change our schedules. We travel. We postpone work. We go out of our way in almost innumerable ways to fit in time for family and friends. This effort proves rewarding not just for us but the people around us as well. Although it would be impossible to live every day with as much emphasis on family and friends, it would serve all of us well to try to focus a little each day on family and friends. Be creative on how to fit extra time and effort into your daily routine for family and friends – little things like a text, a phone call, an email, a note, a few extra steps down a hallway or into another office.
- Be Friendly to Your Neighbors.
I love this part of Christmas. This is one of the most fascinating observations I make each Christmas. As Christmas day gets closer, your neighbor becomes your friend. Complete strangers often wish each other a “Merry Christmas.” Conversations start in elevators, on sidewalks, at checkout, everywhere. It is more than just a smile. There’s a general kindness that permeates the air – often this is what people refer to as the Christmas spirit. Our world would be a better place if we would take some of that attitude and sprinkle it into the rest of our days.
- Consider the Less Fortunate.
More than any other time of the year, it seems as if people are more sensitive to the less fortunate at Christmas. There are great reminders all around us like the Salvation Army kettle, a special angel tree, a donation box at work, or a special offering at church. Regardless of how we get there as a society, we rejoice together in all the good work and good will that gets expressed and shared at Christmas. Throughout the rest of our year, we would be wise to be more intentional about considering those who may need a helping hand. Again, be creative – give a little extra in your offering at church, pay it forward in a line at your favorite local coffee shop or McDonald’s, volunteer, or make a donation to a shelter.
- Be Positive.
Instead of seeing and saying the worse, see and say the best. Possibly it’s the lights, the decorations, the chocolate, the pies, the gifts … I’m not sure what it is that tends to make people more positive at Christmas time. But I am positive I like it! Sure there are things that might make you negative – especially during an election year! – but choose to be positive anyway. Before you say something negative or roll your eyes or make a sigh or make a sarcastic remark, ask yourself, “Will this be perceived in a positive way or a negative way? Will this help build my neighbor up or tear him or her down?” Then choose to be an encourager!
- Focus on Giving instead of Receiving.
At Christmas we put so much time and energy into giving. We bake goodies. We buy gifts. We create homemade crafts. We do and do and do. Why? So we can give it away. What a joy to see someone else receive a gracious gift we bring! In order though to have gracious receivers, you must be a gracious giver. So spend just a little energy each day and look around you to notice ways that you can give. It could be as simple as a smile but most of us have so much more we can share.
I hope you will consider these suggestions and come up with your own as we together strive to make every day more like Christmas Day. If you have a few good ideas, share them with the rest of us. Together we can all make every day a bit more special for those around us.