Christmas is usually a time of abundance for those who have the means to make it happen. If the holiday season slipped by, and we never got anything other than what we got the other 11 months, we would all be okay. There are 3 things you should get yourself for Christmas. And NONE of them are things that can be tied up in a pretty little package.
- The most important thing you need is Jesus. If you get nothing else, definitely get a renewed love for Jesus–the king who humbled himself, gave up His heavenly throne, came down to an earth in turmoil for about 33 years, and then died a horrible death to save us. Not only that, but then He came back to this horrible place again, to the people who killed Him and left Him to die alone, for 40 more days, before returning to His eternal home in Heaven. Get a renewed sense of His love and powerful presence right at home in your heart. Now THAT is a gift!
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV
- A gift all of us need is time–time to be still, time to reflect, a time to ponder. Before the new year begins, we all need a little time to bask in the light of the Christmas tree and thank God for the blessing of the past year. If you are like many of us, it is a time to thank God for His presence and deliverance through the struggles of the year. It is a time to be thankful for new beginnings and renewed hearts that can bring a better 2016. It’s time to be thankful for the gift of hope that we have if we have Jesus. Treasure all these things up in your heart, just like Mary did.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 NIV
- Now I want to take a second to speak specifically to all you homeschool mommas. At first glance this one may not seem like a spiritual gift like the others, but it really is. All moms have challenges, but if you are a homeschooler, you probably don’t have a lot of time without your children. I want to challenge you to commit to doing something for yourself AND your family at the same time. You can have a few minutes of peace while not even feeling guilty about it (and you shouldn’t anyway). My challenge to you is to stop right now and find a homeschool conference or retreat that you can attend this coming year.
There are many homeschool conferences and retreats to choose from. Most take into account that homeschool families are often large and working on one income, so they are affordably priced. Do your research online and choose one that is also at a feasible location, and offered at a good time for you. As this year draws to a close and we look ahead, it is the perfect time to go ahead and mark a homeschool convention on your calendar. It’s also a good time to get tickets before price increases!
If you still aren’t convinced you need to set aside some time, here are a few good reasons why you should…
- Even professional teachers have required professional development hours each year. When I was teaching in a public school classroom, we were required over 20 hours of professional development each year. Continual education is what we want to model for our kids. We want them to be lifelong learners, so we need to lead by example.
- You can personalize your experience. As a public school teacher, we were told what most of our professional development had to be. As a parent, you get to choose what is best for your individual children. There are usually wide varieties of classes offered and speakers that cover a wide variety of topics. Do you have a struggling writer? There is a class for that! You get to choose the classes that are of the most interest to you. You can skip the others!
- It’s good to get away and have a change of pace! Homeschool Convention is the one time of year I usually leave my children with my parents for a few days. It gives me the time I need to focus on school, what I am learning, and relax! If leaving your kids isn’t an option, most conventions have programs for the children. Some people have amazingly quiet children that they bring with them while sitting in the classes. Kudos to people who are able to do that! (My children do not fall into the quiet category!)
- There are also many Christian homeschool conventions, so it is not only a time to renew your excitement about homeschooling, but it is also a time to renew your faith in God. It is a time to pray about your homeschooling decisions. It is a time to learn about why God has called you to homeschool and the best practices to fulfill His vision for your family.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up success for the upright;
He is a shield for those who live with integrity
8 so that He may guard the paths of justice
and protect the way of His loyal followers.
9 Then you will understand righteousness, justice,
and integrity—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your mind,
and knowledge will delight your heart.
11 Discretion will watch over you,
and understanding will guard you.” Proverbs 2:6-11 HCSB
Two conventions that I have attended, both of which I loved for different reasons, are Teach Them Diligently and Great Homeschool Conventions. I chose both of them based on location, and both were fantastic. Teach Them Diligently was smaller and cozier, with super conservative Christian values. Great Homeschool Conventions offered a much larger convention hall and a wider variety of classes. I learned a ton at both and can highly recommend them.
I pray that this Christmas season finds you closer to Jesus, with a few moments to reflect on all the positive, and presents you with the opportunity for growth in the upcoming year.
Have you ever been to a Homeschool Convention? If so, what did you learn? What other gifts are important for you to give yourself this Christmas?