Although I never did get around to writing a post about all the things I was thankful for, I did enjoy reading everyone else's posts on the subject and they brought up something I have been thinking about a lot lately - being intentional. It's not that people love their family and friends and Diet Dr. Pepper more at this time of the year, it's that they are making a point to remember all that they have and that they should be grateful for. They are being intentionally grateful.

I want to be intentional, not just in my gratitude, but in everything I do from what I watch and read, to what I wear, to what I say and what I do. It isn't always easy but as a Christian, I need to remember that the bible has a lot to say about more areas of our lives than we would care to admit. And in deciding how to live my life, I shouldn't rush off to follow what the latest study says about this, or the most popular expert has written about that. Nor should I necessarily do things the way I was raised, or even the way I see most Christians acting. Instead, I should examine the Bible and apply its principles to that area of my life.

In some ways it has been easy for Craig and I to be intentional about things our first year of marriage because as we were merging our lives, things naturally came up that needed to be decided. But the longer we are married the easier it is to continue on doing the same things we did before just because. I've already noticed it and we haven't even been married very long at all! It's hard, but it is important.

Right now, we are thinking about Christmas. On our little drive over the river and through the woods to Houston Wednesday night, Craig and I were able to talk about what we wanted our future Christmases to be like - how were we going to handle the Santa issue, what traditions do we want to keep (and what do we want to get rid of), things like that. And it needs to start now because our thoughts about Christmas and the traditions we start now are going to be what shapes our behavior later. If when I think "Christmas" my mind is full of stuff and presents and other gilded lilies, then when I try to create a special Christmas for my kids, that is what I will want them to have.

And, if you read my last post, you'll know that "stuff" isn't what I want my (future) childrens' Christmases to be about. I want them to be more than that. And that doesn't just happen, we will need to be intentional about it. I don't think any of the parents in my last post sat down and thought, I want Christmas to be a purely superficial experience for my children. Heck, even non-Christian Christmas celebrators want it to at least be about love and family. And it doesn't mean that it is easy to live that out. I will be the first to admit that it is really hard. I totally failed last year. Not because I went crazy with spending and gifts, but because I went crazy with crafts and decorating and wanting everything to be perfect. Ironically, the whole reason we have Christmas is that the Earth isn't perfect. If it was, we wouldn't have needed that little baby in the manger. At least God's design for Christmas was intentional. In fact, He had it planned since before the world began.


  1. I continue to try and not have Christmas be a "gift receiving" experience for my kids. We do Sub for Santa or donate to the food bank. Because of this my daughter knows there are unfortunate kids/families out there. She even asked if we were going to help another family this year.

    Unfortunately though my moms spoils my kids. She grew up POOR. So poor in fact that at 14 she was working so her brothers and sisters could have food. She never got a Christmas present ever. She does remember getting an orange one year.

  2. If you raise your children right (and I believe you will) they won't want or demand a commercial Christmas, but you will be able to delight them with gifts that mean a lot to them.

  3. Bridge - I think doing activities like that really does make a difference in how kids view Christmas. And your mother is supposed to spoil them, that is why God made grandmother's.

    June - I was going to add that while Craig and I are figuring out what we want to do, I do have a good start since my parents did a pretty good job with Christmas. The things I remember most about Christmas are our traditions like pajamas, dad driving us around to look at lights and advent and fighting over what ornaments to use as we set up the tree and eating stollen Christmas morning. Although I will admit, after this year at your house, stollen is one tradition that we are leaving behind, neither one of us think it is tasty enough to be a yearly event!

  4. I think the Stollen started when we were stationed in Germany, it wasn't something I had even growing up with a German mom; but it became a tradition because I could always find it at the commissary; no telling how old it is . . . most expiration dates are listed as "several years from now." But hey, it is an official Naething tradition now!