While all of the things I listed above might have good intentions to make it a Christmas to remember, we need to always keep at the forefront of our minds that even the best ideas we have might not be in our best interest.
In the beginning of Deuteronomy, Moses is recapping what happened just before he was about to lead the Israelites into the promised land. In Deuteronomy 1:22 he says that the people went to him and said, "Let us send men to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to." Truthfully that seems pretty logical. I mean, how many of us don't call ahead to AAA to get that TripTik before venturing into the great unknown? And in response, Moses records that it seemed like a good idea to him. (v.23) Except it ended up being the worst idea for all involved.
The reality is, even our very best ideas, the sure fire winners we are certain will bring our family closer together and create memories to last a lifetime, really need to be brought before God. Why? He knows so much more than us. While we might fantasize about stringing popcorn, starting a fire, watching A Christmas Carol, and drinking hot cocoa, God knows if what we should do instead is color a picture of Baby Jesus and read Luke 2. And He also knows if we should do the reverse. (Seriously, how many of us have planned the perfect way to teach our kids about Jesus only to get completely frustrated when their age shows a horrible lack of interest and now we have convinced ourselves we are the worst parent ever and our kids will never be saved? Just sayin')
As Advent is about to begin in the blink of an eye, I have found a few resources that I am hoping will help us keep our eyes where they truly need to be focused.
First, LoveGodGreatly.com has three reading plans for Christmas: The Road to Christmas, God With Us, and His Name Is. Each of these plans are Scripture references that can help us keep our eyes where they belong. Second, faithgateway.com is offering Max Lucado's Because of Bethlehem free. (You can just watch the videos plus when you sign up, there are free downloads sent to your inbox.) Third, AlexandraKuykendall.com wrote a book called Loving My Actual Christmas. When you sign up to receive her newsletter, there is a download for the Bible Study that is broken into four weeks to focus on hope, love, joy, and peace. And finally, SheReadsTruth.com has their Advent study starting on the third, but has archived studies under all available plans from Christmas 2016 and 2015.
Keep in mind that these are just my suggestions. Even if they seem like a good idea, it would be best to take them to God to see what He would have you do to prepare your heart for Christmas. My only prayer is that this Christmas we'll do more to see others, love others, support others, and hear others, just as God constantly sees, loves, supports, and hears us.