I consider December one of the busiest months of the year. There are so many things to do, gifts to buy, parties to attend, chores to finish, and so on – all with the end of the year looming over our heads.
Because there are so many distractions at this time of year, focusing on Christ sometimes doesn’t happen the way I want it to. Some years are better than others, but when I have to worry about Amazon packages showing up in time for the holiday, how am I supposed to focus on Christ too?
Okay, we all know it is possible to focus on Christ while doing other things. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a challenge to keep a feeling of gratitude and love for Christ in my heart at times.
So I’ve come up with a list of ways to help boost the Christmas spirit when holiday stress has us lagging:
1 – Start a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude journals are simple – every morning, write a list of things you’re grateful for. I’m including this on the list because I’ve recently started a gratitude journal, and it completely changes the way I look at the day.
I feel happier and more focused on what’s important. I also think it’s helped me let go of minor annoyances and stresses in favor of optimism.
I didn’t start the journal because of the Christmas season, but I love that it’s coincided because remembering things I’m grateful for helps me think about Christ more, and makes Him more of a focus early in the day.
So if you’re looking to face the day and the season more cheerfully, try a gratitude journal. I think you’ll be surprised to see how much happier you feel by gratefully acknowledging God’s hand in your life each day.
2 – Light the World
I couldn’t make this list without including Light the World. Light the World is an initiative from Come Unto Christ to serve the people around us through the Christmas season. Even though it started a few days ago, it isn’t too late to get involved.
You can sign up to receive text prompts each day, and even if you don’t do every prompt, doing some of them still brings light into your life and the lives of others. A lot of them are really simple and take only a few minutes each day, while some take a little more effort. #lighttheworld
3 – Study the Names of Christ
One of the best ways to remember and learn about Christ is to study His names. Ask yourself what the names mean and how they change your perspective of Him, then write your answers in a study journal.
If you want some help starting on this study, try this list of Christ’s names. The list includes 50 names and scripture references for each name. You could try studying three of His names each day from now to Christmas, and you’ll easily make it through all 50 names.
4 – Watch the Nativity
This is a classic Christmas activity, but a great one for inviting the Spirit of Christ. There are a lot of versions of the nativity, so pick your favorite and watch it with your family. Or, if you aren’t sure which version to watch, try the newest version:
5 – Hang Up a Picture of Christ
Seeing pictures of Christ every day can help you remember Him more at this season of the year. Whether you put up a large framed picture or a postcard picture doesn’t matter. What matters is choosing to invite Him and look for Him in your life.
If you don’t want to buy a picture, you can print one off from this online gallery.
6 – Read “The Living Christ”
At Christmas, we spend a lot of time talking about the birth of Christ, which is a pretty important thing to talk about. But we should spend some time remembering Christ’s life and Atonement as well.
So try reading “The Living Christ.” It’s a short testimony from our apostles and prophets that Christ did live and still lives. If you really want to go the extra mile, you could try memorizing it as well.
7 – Set a Reminder of Christ on Your Phone
This is a great option if you don’t have a lot of time available in your day. Find a quote or scripture about Christ, and set it as a daily reminder on your phone. Then, every day at the same time, the reminder will pop up, and you’ll be able to spend a moment reviewing the quote or scripture about Christ.
It may not take a lot of time to read a quote or scripture, but it will bring a bright, peaceful moment to your day.
8 – Memorize a Hymn
The radio is full of Christmas music right now, but it doesn’t focus on Christ much. So try memorizing a Christmas hymn. Then, when you have a quiet moment, whether you’re at home or in the car, you can sing it and feel the peace and Spirit it brings.
9 – Connect Traditions to Christ
Have you ever asked yourself how decorating a Christmas tree connects to Christ? As you do your family traditions this year, ask yourself or your family how each tradition connects to Christ.
It actually makes a pretty good discussion, and the object lessons will stick in your mind as you go through the season. Every time you see a tree, or a gift, or give service, you’ll be able to connect it back to Christ and remember Him better each Christmas for years to come.
10 – Prioritize Family
The Christmas season has so much going on that just spending time with family can become a challenge. So try setting aside specific times to spend with your family. You can do old traditions, make new traditions, and talk with each other about Christ.
Elder David A. Bednar recently said:
The best missionary training center, the best family history center, the best Sunday school class, and the best temple preparation course are all taught inside the walls of your own home, apartment, dorm, or wherever you live.Elder David A. Bednar, 7 December 2019, Instagram
By sharing your testimonies of Christ, you and your family will grow closer to each other and to Him in the best way possible.
11 – Watch the First Presidency Christmas Message
Near the beginning of each December, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shares a message with us to help us remember our Savior during this season. That message is actually happening TONIGHT at 6 PM Mountain Standard Time.
Listening to the words of the prophets called by Jesus Christ can strengthen our hearts when we feel down, give us peace when we are stressed, and remind us of Christ’s love when we are alone. Whether you watch this message live or later, you’ll love the difference it brings to your Christmas holiday.