Preparing Teens for Christmas
Can you believe that it is almost Christmas? As I drive around my neighborhood and admire the beautiful decorations in my neighbor’s yards, I realize that Christmas is right around the corner. Yesterday, I attended an Advent Mission in church and it was so beautiful. We talked about preparing our hearts for Christmas, and living our lives so others may see and believe the faith we have. Preparing for Christmas isn’t just about buying gifts for our family and friends. It is about preparing our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
1. Take time to notice your neighbor
How often do we go along our merry way in life, not noticing the pain of people around us, or even sharing in their joy? Take time to smile at the people you meet along the way. Instead of getting upset at the guy who crosses you in traffic, say a prayer for them and let it go. Is it really worth it upsetting yourself for the rest of the day over something you really can’t do anything about? Just leave it behind you and move on. Empathize with the friend who is having problems with their children. Sometimes it is enough just to sit and listen to someone as they unburden themselves. Make a difference in the lives of the people you meet every day and leave them better off than you found them.
2. Take stock of the past year
December is a good time to start looking back at how you lived the past few months. Look back not to feel sorry for yourself about the mistakes you made but instead to learn from those mistakes. What did you do right? How did you impact your teen’s lives? What can you do better in the coming year? Teach your teens to also look back and plan for the coming year. We are all a work in progress. Learn from the past, leave the bad stuff behind and move on with your life. Teach teens to remember to celebrate their successes, and aim to do bigger and better things for the coming year.
3. Prepare for the coming year
It’s not too early to start thinking of your resolutions for the coming year. I don’t know if resolutions is the right word to use. We somehow make those and forget about them in a few weeks. Plan for the coming year. Think of the possibilities and teach your teens to do the same. Most of the limitations we have in our lives exist first in our own minds. Teach teens to realize their potential and make plans to accomplish great things in the coming year. It’s good to actually sit with them and write down what they hope to achieve for the coming year. Help them to get excited about the future. As Loren said last week, you achieve what you think you can achieve. Help your teens break out of their limitations and strive for excellence. The seed is within them. Help them see, believe and achieve it.
4. Do something nice for someone else
Have you noticed that warm feeling you have in your heart when you do something nice for someone else? There are endless opportunities around this time of year to give back. It starts with the Salvation Army ringing the bell and asking for donations as you go into the shops to buy gifts for family and friends. Several churches have a Magi Tree with requests for Christmas gifts from people who are less fortunate. Donate to your Rec Centers and soup kitchens as they request canned goods for others. Get back the warmth in your heart and share the same joy of giving with your children. Help them pick out gifts for other family members and friends. Giving gifts to your children’s teachers also brings joy to them. There are so many ways to give back, and ultimately, it really is about you receiving joy and happiness in your life, even as you help someone else.
5. Take control of your life
Unfortunately the Christmas season can also be filled with a lot of stress as you think of all that needs to be done, or sometimes the financial burdens you face. Decide to create inner peace for yourself. Don’t allow the circumstances of your life or the hustle and bustle around you to dictate your mood. Take time to sit even if is for just five minutes to meditate and create inner peace. You do have control of your life. Take it back and don’t allow life’s circumstances to disrupt your peace.
Prepare for Christmas with joy and peace in your hearts. Take time to notice the people around you and aim to make life better for someone else. Sit with the neighbor who just wants company for a few minutes. Take stock of the past year and learn from your mistakes and encourage your teens to do the same. Break the chains and limitations you created in your own mind this past year and approach the coming Christmas season with peace and joy in your hearts. Realize the endless possibilities and plan for a life of excellence in the coming year.