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The packages have been opened, the treats have been enjoyed, trips have been taken, and a vague sense of normalcy is beginning to return to homes. Bedtimes start to be reinforced again. Twinkling lights disappear and houses “go dark.” Slowly but surely we leave the “most wonderful time of the year” behind us.

If your kids are like mine, the adjustment from the wonder of Christmas or the carefree schedules of vacation or the adventures of spring and fall breaks to the monotony of everyday life can be rocky.  Over the past few years, there’ve been a few things that have helped us ease into these transitions a bit more smoothly and disciple our kids in the faith at the same time.

  1. Learning How To Celebrate…All the Time – As Christians we have the unique opportunity to never live a mundane, monotonous life! Our Savior promised us the gift of abundant life. There is a sense of hope and expectation available to us every single day. Teach your kids to find the treasures in the normal moments of life so when the big hyped-up moments go by, their excitement for life doesn’t wane.  Celebrate often! I encourage families to have three “celebrations” in their back pocket: a 30 second celebration (for small but special victories), a 2 minute celebration (when something pretty incredible has happened and we just need to praise God), and a special event celebration (for us this is a Star Dinner when a person in the family has achieved an important milestone like reading their first book or graduating from college).
  1. Follow the Calendar – No, not that calendar…the church calendar. Advent and Christmas are just the beginning of the incredible story of God’s promise, appearance, revelation, salvation, resurrection, and indwelling. Epiphany begins on January 6; a season of celebrating God revealing himself to all mankind through the story of the Magi. Easter and Pentecost follow and then the story becomes ours as we enter “ordinary time” made extraordinary by God using us to tell His story.  The church calendar is more than just ancient tradition or a way to mark off time; it’s a chance for us to engage the metanarrative of Scripture in our homes with our families. And we can do that all year long.
  1. Remember Together – The holidays and/or family vacations are often times chock full of activities and experiences that can’t be fully appreciated on the moment because of time constraints or just plain weariness. So, use the time afterward to remember with your family the meaningful moments. Write them down. Send thank you notes. Print the pictures. Then gather together to say “Thank you” to the One who gives the gifts of love, joy, peace, and hope.  Re-open again the gifts of Advent and Christmas, this time with a slower pace, and greater chance for gratitude.

I’ve already seen the picture on social media counting down the days to Christmas. But we don’t need to wait a year to experience the joy of celebration again. Let’s make part of our transition to regularly scheduled life include celebration, anticipation, and even thanksgiving by inviting Jesus into our everyday.

Christina Embree
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