This time of year it is entirely too easy to get caught up in the frenzied pace rather than slowing down and waiting upon the Lord.
In our home, we deliberately say “no” to many extra activities in order to keep the focus where it should be: on Christ. One of the ways I help my children do this is by decluttering the house before the onslaught of goodies on Christmas morning.
I know what you’re thinking: Why declutter? Shouldn’t we wait until January when all the magazines tell us it’s time to clean up and reorganize the house after the holidays?
For starters, decluttering is an exercise in giving to those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s a life-giving exercise in the imitation of Christ who came to give life to those who had none.
When we go through each room in the house, my ministry to my family is threefold: 1. Find things we realize are trash, 2. Find things we can give away, and 3. Create peace from chaos.
In doing this three-part ministry, my children learn:
1. The story of advent: Christ came to “separate the wheat from the chaff.” So we throw away things that are garbage, and thank the Lord for His graciousness in the good things He has given—things that will last.
2. We remember that there are many who do not have what we have—namely, Christ. In giving our things away, and finding other gifts to give, we keep the focus on being Christ to a lost and dying world that desperately needs the saving grace of Jesus.
3. Finally, in creating peace in our home from the chaos of clutter, we remember the reason Jesus had to come in the first place: to make things right between us and His Father, whom we had sinned against. He came as the Prince of Peace.
And, yes, we give good gifts to our children on the twelve days of Christmas (and on December 6th – Saint Nicholas Day! So they will know the history of their faith and who the real “Saint Nick” is). 🙂
Won’t You Join Me?
Each day for the next 21 days, I will post a 15 minute challenge for you and your children to complete—at the bottom of that day’s post. I will let you know our progress also. Some days there may only be one or two things to discard, but the focus and the heart are the same: it’s all about looking with eager, joyous anticipation to the coming of our Lord.
Ready? Grab three trash bags, boxes, or bins. Mark one “Trash,” the next “Keep,” and the third “Give Away.” Set. Mark your timer for 15 minutes. Go!
Today’s De-Clutter Challenge
Area: Entry hall (or foyer) of your home. I start here because it is the area that welcomes guests. We want them to feel loved! Also, if your children see the common areas and your bedroom getting decluttered first, they will more readily eliminate their things because they can see your joy at focusing on the blessings and helping others. Please do this with the joy of the Lord speaking His words of truth and life to your children lovingly as you work your way through this challenge. We all want our children to remember us lovingly teaching them about Christ! (And if you miss a day, no big deal, just get back on track with whatever day we are on and finish what you can. Stress is the worst mess of all. 🙂
Task: Pick up trash; put all other items in one of your other bags/boxes/bins (decision is yours).
Verse: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” —Hebrews 13:2
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help us to remember you in every stranger’s face. Please help us to lovingly welcome others as You showed Your love to us. Thank You for all You have given us. Please take our belongings and allow them to be a blessing to others that Your love may be known to them in this advent season. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
Let me know how today’s challenge goes for your family. May you be blessed… I’m praying for you!
Go to Day 2 >>
This post linked Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, Walking Redeemed, Adorned from Above, Judith Whole-Hearted Home,Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, Growing Home – Teach Me Tuesday, and Teaching What is Good