The Holiday Season can be very chaotic. Take a look around you. Christmas has become the most commercialized holiday and we have become obsessed with the commercial aspects of it. While our eyes are big and our spirits are high, Christmas can easily become a time in which we put our focus on the wrong things. Our minds are often consumed with thoughts of how many gifts we need to provide or receive. In addition to this, we become stressed thinking about things like how much we will be spending on gifts adding on even more pressure to our pockets. We can easily become distracted by the world instead of focusing on what really matters at Christmas – Jesus. It’s important that we step away from our busy schedules and amplified worries to truly remember what Christmas is all about. Here are five ways to focus on what really matters at Christmas.

Celebrate Advent

Advent, which falls four weeks before Christmas is recognized by many Christians as the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The term comes from the Latin translation of “coming” and many prophecies in the Old Testament pointed to this promise. One way to focus on what really matters at Christmas is to light an Advent wreath each day leading up to Christmas. The Advent wreath demonstrates the contrast between darkness and light. In the Bible, Christ is referred to as the “Light of the World” contrasted with the darkness of sin. You can also find a daily Advent devotional that you can reflect on each day. This is also a great time for introspection. Remind yourself through daily devotion and prayer that in Him, there is no darkness all. Ask yourself where you are in your journey with Christ. If you’re not where you want to be, make it a point to change as the year transitions.

Set Up a Nativity Display

We are all familiar with the Nativity of Jesus, the story that chronicles the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. A nativity display is one of the best reminders of the joy of Christ’s birth. Many Christians celebrate Jesus’ birth by setting up a nativity display or reenacting the nativity story as a reminder of the true meaning of the Christmas season. Set up a Nativity in your home and make that scene a focus. Some place them on their mantles or on the entry tables in their home. One fun thing you can do is hide the baby Jesus and have your family “seek” Him before opening any gifts. This will remind your children (and some adults) that the holiday is not our birthday but His.

Bring the Story of Jesus’ Birth to Life

A great way to focus on what really matters at Christmas is to bring the story of Jesus’ birth to life. This can go beyond setting up a nativity display. Start off by reading Luke 2:1-20 which tells the story of Jesus’ birth. After you dive into the reading, try locating Bethlehem, the place where Jesus was born, on a biblical map. You can easily find its location from the back of your Bible or a Bible atlas. Another way to encourage your children to bring the story of Jesus’ birth to life is to reenact the story. You can get really creative, even outside of the church play. Try using sheets and blankets to create costumes. You can even enlist your pets, like the family dog as a donkey. If you have older kids in the family, you can ask them to join in the fun by directing the play. This is a great way to focus on the Christmas story, while also bringing the whole family together.

Have a Minimalist Christmas

It’s easy to get lost in materialism during the holidays. Retailers and advertisers want you to buy more during Christmas to maximize their profits and too often, we fall into these traps each year. One way to be more minimalistic at Christmas is to not participate in excessive commercialism. While giving and receiving gifts at Christmas is fun, especially when it’s for the kids, participating in excessive commercialism really takes our focus away from Jesus. One reason why we should focus on minimalism is because Jesus was a minimalist. Matthew 8:20 says, “And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’” Jesus was a minimalist being born in a lowly manger. When Jesus was crucified, He had a handful of material possessions and He could carry everything He owned on Him. Jesus didn’t focus on material possessions and we shouldn’t get lost in them either.

Support a Christian Charity

During Christmas, we should all make an effort to be more Christ-like. Jesus was a true giver and His giving had no limit. At this time, consider giving to someone in need. There are a number of incredible Christian charities that work to deliver a better Christmas to people in desperate need of help. Some of these charities include but are not limited to Samaritan’s Purse: International Relief, The Salvation Army and World Vision. As Christians we are called to bear fruit. Giving to those in need is a great way to set this example and get into the real spirit of Christmas. When you give back you are being intentional about being an example of God’s unyielding love.