For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my ways perfect. –Psalm 18:31-32 (NKJV)
It’s that time of year again: time for lights and bells, family and food, presents with our kids…or maybe not. Christmas can be a time single parents may not be too fond of- especially if we are away from our children over the holidays. Co-parenting, split custody and a variety of other factors may be inhibiting your chance to have a traditional Christmas morning with your kids- and it may be even more painful if this is your first year as a single parent. Coming from someone who has endured many a heartaches over the years as a single dad during the holidays, I get it. However, I also want to give you encouragement that this is not the end all, be all. Here are a few quick tips you can use to not only build yourself up, but also provide your children with a great Christmas- even if you’re not able to spend December 25 with them.
- Prepare your heart
Before anything else, let’s make sure our hearts are in the right place. Ask the Lord to remove any feelings of anger, guilt, or bitterness that may distract you from letting His love flow through this transition. David said it best in Psalm 57:7: My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. Be mindful to keep a soft heart during this season- one that is full of worship and praise for God.
- Connect with your kids
This may or not be an option for you. If it is, go ahead and make that phone call, send them a text, Skype, or any other means to talk with them. Use the time wisely to build them up with love and affirmation and wish them a very Merry Christmas. Don’t dwell on the negatives (even if you have to bite your tongue) and make sure whatever you say to them leaves them for the better that day (Eph 4:29).
The Bible tells us that “a merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Prov 17:22) Going back to the previous point, if you get the chance to talk with your son or daughter, make it a time of joy and laughter. This will leave everyone involved with a joyful and healing heart after the conversation is done. On the flip side, if you aren’t able to talk with them, a great alternative would be to reflect back on memories past with your kids, ones that bring you joy. You may even want share stories with others and tell them how much your children make you happy.
- It’s just a day
We have no historical or Biblical records that suggest Jesus was actually born on December 25th. Instead, let’s focus on the bigger picture: bringing our children up in Christ and preparing them for the world ahead. Yes, there is something special about Christmas morning, but look at it this way: Which do you think would be more important- having your kids every year on Christmas Day and never instilling God’s Word into them…or using the time you DO have to love them and teach them His statues? Remember, we’re fighting for eternity here. And to be honest, the kids are more excited to spend time with you, and of course, receive their presents.
- The greatest gift of all
Our human side tends to want to dominate our spirit constantly (Gal 5:17). It may sound cliché, but Jesus IS the reason we celebrate! A life lived apart from Him and the peace, promise, and joy He brings really isn’t much of a life at all. If you have already made the decision to follow Him as your Lord and Savior, then the rest is just added blessings. If you have not, today is a perfect day to hit your knees, confess your sins, and ask Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life. God has given us the greatest gift of all in His Son. You may be apart from your son or daughter this year, but the Lord is near and He is longing to spend Christmas Day with you!
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.” –Matthew 1:23 (NASB)