Did you know there is a joyful and funny side to single parenting at Christmas? Sometimes church leaders and children’s ministers can get so wrapped up in the hurting that we forget to look at the lighter, happier side of life that people parenting alone might experience.
A close friend of mine told me this story several years ago and every Christmas I joyfully think about this story. I want to pass it onto all of you so you too can feel uplifted.
I remember as a single parent how I used to dread Christmas. My budget was small and setting up the Christmas tree and decorating it all alone was very hard. My children were shuttled from my house to dads with stops in between to visit two sets of grandparents. How sad that every year we really dreaded Christmas.
One year when Christmas came around I was determined to have a change of heart about Christmas. I decided I was going to do something fun and exciting for the kids. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be though since my budget was so tight.
For days leading up to Christmas I promised my kids that we would have an exciting Christmas. I purchased small gifts for both kids and placed them under the tree.
Christmas Eve came and I was still determined to have a joyful fun filled Christmas Day with the children. At this point I wasn’t sure what that fun thing was going to be.
I prayed and asked God for something exciting to happen. I wanted the kids to really enjoy Christmas.
Christmas morning came and they opened the few little gifts that were under the tree. They didn’t complain but were kind of looking around for something else. I mean after all I had promised a fun and exciting Christmas.
Being a creative and desperate single parent I said, “Kids, we’re not done yet. Are you ready for the big surprise? I’ve got something very exciting for you. Are you ready?” as I threw opened the blinds and said, “SNOW! I got you snow for Christmas.”
Upon seeing the snow both kids starting shouting, “Oh mama, thank you. Thank you for the snow! Yay! You are the best mom! This is the best Christmas gift ever!”
That turned out to be one of the most fun Christmas mornings of all times. We played in that snow most of the morning. I heard the kids telling their friends that I got them snow for Christmas.
It really was a miracle that my kids and I were able to experience. It rarely snows where we live and never on Christmas Eve. I was able to praise God that is had snowed all night the night before. We were able to thank God for Christmas and the baby Jesus.
Encouraging lighthearted joy
One year I took a five-year-old little boy to see the Rhema Christmas lights in Broken Arrow, OK. That year Rhema had over a million lights with religious Christmas scenes all over the campus. My children were grown and I told the boy’s single dad that I’d watch him one Friday night before Christmas.
The night we went to see the lights it was very cold, misting and a light fog was surrounding everything. We got out of the car and walked around the campus. My little friend was in awe. He said, “It’s like walking around inside a book. Like we just walked into a fairy tale.” The look of wonderment on his face was priceless.
We marveled at the ducks as they swam in the cold water. We spent the entire evening outside in awe and we had so much fun laughing and walking around. As they years went by every so often my little friend would say, “Remember that time we went to see the Christmas lights?” A gift that was not long forgotten.
Encourage single parents to spend uninterrupted time with their children. Even if it can only be twenty minutes, it will be priceless time they are investing in their parent child relationship. Encourage them to get outside into nature and experience the beauty of God’s creation.
While we know that Christmas is about the Christ child, it is okay to encourage single parents to take moments to stop and enjoy this special time of the year. Rather than getting caught up in the worldly emphasis on Christmas, help the single parents and their children enjoy the wonder of Christmas.
How will you encourage a single parent to enjoy Christmas this year?