“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
For single moms or dads, Christmas brings added anxieties. You worry about getting your children something they will like while remaining within your budget. You worry the non-custodial parent will get your child something nicer than your purchase.
And then there’s the question of whom will the child spend Christmas? Will they be with you or the other parent? Will they spend time with both of you on Christmas Day? What about the hand-off? Will you be seeing former in-laws? You know, the ones who hate you and blame you for everything?
Let me begin by saying first–Christmas is about Christ. Keep the focus on Him and let everything else fall into place. We get so wrapped up in the “what ifs” of life that they can steal our joy of the season.
How do we keep the focus on Him? Remember, Christmas is a celebration of the greatest gift ever given. It is a time to focus on not just the miracle of the birth, but the entire gospel story. The greatest gift has already been given; nothing can top it, so stop trying! You will only feed yours and your child’s selfish desires. Give sensible gifts within your budget. Make Christmas a time of worship, not materialistic hedonism. You and your kids will be thankful and better off in the long-term.
Remember, after honoring God in this season, your second priority is your children. They need unconditional love and comfort. They need demonstrations of unconditional love! Remember, as a Christian, you are called to love and live in peace with everyone. Yes, even the ex. That doesn’t mean giving them a kiss or putting yourself in harm’s way. It does mean you need to show love and respect to the other parent, especially in front of your children. Bad mouthing, slinging insults, and trashing your ex or their family will only hurt your children.
Additionally, children thrive on routine and solid expectations. This means they need to know what is happening and when. If you and your ex can agree on a consistent experience for your child, then make plans and follow through. Tell your kids when they will go and return. If the other parent is undependable or does not know for sure if they can be there to pick up the child, then find a time when they can follow through.
Remember above all, we need to be pointing our children to Christ and setting good examples for them. If you do this, they will have a Happy New Year.