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Set the Stage


This Christmas, we decided to get a real tree for our home. As a child, I remember my dad taking us to a tree farm, cutting down a tree, and decorating it with hand-made ornaments. Knowing this would be our second Christmas away from family, we were more intentional about creating a special moment for our family, so “Tree Day” became a big deal on our calendar. The kids were really looking forward to it—so much that Blue was dressed and ready to go before anyone else (this never happens). We picked our tree, came home, and started decorating. Right then it hit me. We were setting the stage for our best Christmas in SF!

Being intentional with Christmas sounds easy. The lights, hot chocolate, festivities, decorations, and music all create an atmosphere of delight, but is that what an intentional Christmas is? For me, an intentional Christmas sets the stage for Jesus to be the star. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and miss the most important part: Jesus was born and given to us!

To be intentional, we must set the table so we can plan for the feast that’s about to occur.

S - Spirit
E - Experience
T - Time

To be intentional this Christmas, we need to invite the presence of God into everything we do during the season. If it’s making Christmas dinner for your family, then set the tone for that dinner by making Jesus the star. One way is by asking dinner guests to bring a star ornament to represent the birth of Christ. Then adorn the table with them as a reminder that Jesus is the one we follow and adore! Start dinner off right by reading the Christmas story together and praying over the meal as a family.

Next, we want to create an experience by designing our home, calendar, family times and work around Jesus being the star this Christmas. The best way to start is mapping out our Christmas calendar. How do we want Christmas to feel? If it’s looking bare and lonely, then spice it up with a hot chocolate run and journaling time to reflect on all God has done for you this year. If it’s super crowded with lots of parties and events, plan a time of reflection with Jesus that sets you up to experience God in a fresh new way. The goal is to design spaces for Jesus to be exalted.

Lastly, we focus on our time. Time is the most important gift we can give this Christmas. If we want to be more intentional, then every second counts. What we do with our time either produces a grateful heart or a stress that pushes the season away. Before you know it, Christmas is over, and we never spent time with Jesus. We may have given gifts, decorated the tree, and made Christmas dinner, but did we stop and reflect on the gift? Did we set the stage for Jesus to be the star?

Going back to our first “Tree Day” in SF, that moment was intentional for us. It was the beginning of a new tradition in a new city. It was how we created home. How can you create moments this Christmas that not only bring your loved ones together, but also reflect the most important gift of all? For us, it was when we put the star on the tree to say, “Jesus you’re the star.”

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:1-2