A Different Christmas

Time is flying.  My son will be nine next week, and it seems he was just born.  Thanksgiving is next week.  Christmas is one month away.  I want to yell – STOP!  Please, time, stop.

However, I’ve learned that time can be slowed.  Well, actually, that I can feel as if I’m slowing time by the choices I make.  If I’m running around, multi-tasking, time flies.  If I stop, focus on one task or one person, time slows.

Time slowed on Tuesday as I sat for almost three hours and talked to a friend.  Among the many things we discussed was time.  How do we make family time on Sundays when we’re involved in the church?  How do we juggle our children’s activities, church obligations, family time, and more?  It’s a tension no family with young children can escape.

In fact, I think my daughter, Hannah, sensed our family time was and is suffering lately.  She held a family meeting and presented her plan:  Monday Funday.  Each Monday, she’ll plan an activity, worship song, and Bible passage for our family to share.  No Farish can have a Monday obligation because it’s family time- a time we’ll look back on in 10 years and say, “Remember when we’d spend every Monday together?  We’d take a hike, play games, and study God’s word.”

While I loved Hannah’s idea and heart, the significance of her request didn’t really hit me until the next day.  My family began studying the life of Paul.  We’re reading Paul:  90 Days on His Journey of Faith.  On Day 1, we encountered this question:

  • What role do ceremony and tradition play in your and your family’s life, especially your life of faith?

We each silently listed our traditions then shared.  Owen – birthday parties, Thanksgiving at Nana’s house, church on Sundays and holidays, and a few other “cultural” traditions like our candy countdown for Christmas.  Hannah composed a similar list, including our new Monday Funday.  I asked them, “What about our life of faith?  What traditions do we have that reflect our life of faith or are motivated by or originated from our faith?”

Silence.  They couldn’t think of any “faith” traditions.

So, I spent some time praying and thinking and reading about Christmas traditions since the season is upon us.  Praying, asking, “Lord, how can we focus on our faith during this season and not just the Christmas trees, decorations, presents, and fun?”  (Although, I LOVE that stuff 🙂

How can this Christmas season be different?

As I scrolled through Twitter one day, I found my answer:  Advent.  God reminded me of my childhood when I attended Poca United Methodist Church.  During this season, our church family would light Advent candles each week.  I remember the wreath with purple and white candles so vividly. I remember Pastor Cox focusing on what God has done, is doing, and will do.

Indeed, “Advent is a time to slow down and reflect. It is a season to consider the first coming of Christ and patiently ponder His second.” (The Village Church)  Slowing down, reflecting, considering Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and second coming. That’s how I want us to spend this season.

I wonder…how might Christmas be different this year if that’s truly what we do as a family?  Slow, reflect, consider, and ponder.  How might your Christmas, stress level, and joy be different if deep in your heart this season truly becomes about Him?

I am hoping our family’s celebration of Advent begins a new tradition for us; one in which we make much of Him by focusing on Him instead of the hustle and bustle of the season.

Time’s flying by, especially as the holidays arrive.  I pray you make the most of each precious second by slowing, reflecting, pondering, and ultimately giving the One who deserves the glory all of it.


NOTE:  To help us as we begin this new tradition, we’re going to use two resources:  An Advent Guide from the Village Church and Discovering Advent:  How to Experience the Power of Waiting on God at Christmastime.



Paul:  90 Days on His Journey of Faith by Beth Moore

Blog:  The Village Church (Downloadable PDF guide to Advent)

Discovering Advent:  How to Experiecne the Power of Waiting on God at Christmastime

TIP:  Google “Advent Craft” or “Advent Ideas”  Lots of ideas!


  1. Hi Sarah, I have gotten behind on reading your posts. You know, the time thing! However, before coming to your site, I was just researching Advent and family activities. We just finished decorating and I had forgotten that I bought the Advent candles and wreath last year after Christmas. At previous churches I have attended I always loved the lighting of the candles and scripture readings. We have an advent calendar with the scriptures to read each day. I am also in the process of having them come up with an activity for each day of Advent that we can do. One day we will make a gingerbread house, bake cookies, take donations to the Salvation Army, suprise a neighbor with a goody basket, put Christmas wreaths on loved ones graves, and we are still coming up with more ideas. I am not stressing about the shopping and, in fact, did boycott Black Friday. I know God will provide and everything will get done, especially if I am doing what HE would have me to do. This season I was determined not to stress and worry. I prayed about Thanksgiving and God decided I would have two dinners. I had one on Wednesday and one on Thursday and I must say that God did a wonderful job providing great food and I never lost my peace!

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