Christian Living


Becky Kiser: Holidays with Less Chaos and More Jesus

Beth Patch - Senior Internet Editor & Producer

Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or some other celebration, holiday planning can be a bear. You don't want to ignore or downplay Jesus in any of it and you don't want to be hyper-religious either. Finding the right balance can be exhausting.

Sacred Holidays Author Becky Kiser admits she used to get so caught up in every little thing during the holiday season that when Christmas morning came she was literally surrounded by piles of wrapping paper and not liking who she was.

"I turned into the 13-year-old version of myself and I would just get so overwhelmed and realized that I had missed it, that I had missed Jesus," she says. "So, five years ago, I just decided I wanted to pursue the One who this day is all about."

Kiser's pursuit gave birth to her Sacred Holidays ministry and most recently, her first book, Sacred Holidays: Less Chaos, More Jesus.

In an interview before her guest appearance on The 700 Club, Kiser talked about how using her book can help someone develop healthy holiday habits.

Beth Patch: Less chaos, more Jesus. That's a great goal. How will readers of your book accomplish this?

Becky Kiser: We're never going to get the chaos to go away completely. We're never going to have less of all the to do's and all the other things in our life, but my hope is for women — both in reading the book and those who don't read the book — that you would focus less on the chaos and more on Jesus.

Patch: You begin your book with a chapter titled "How to Use This Book". Is the book complicated?

Kiser: I wanted a book that all women, in all stages of life, could do because we're all busy. I wanted it to be something that you could read in tiny segments, 30 minutes or less. So, the book starts off with just two chapters that are all about let's take some baby steps towards something new. You get to list out and surrender some past holiday regrets to Jesus and then you get to dream for a better way. That will take you less than 30 minutes to start the book. That's all you have to do at the beginning.

Then, every holiday has its own chapter, 15 to 30 minutes per holiday chapter. Each holiday chapter includes tips and resources, but also some journaling sections so you get to dream up, 'Hey, what has not worked in the past that I never want to do again? What are things that I've heard of that I want to try doing the next year?'

Patch: You used the phrase "sacred, holy, and set apart" in describing celebrating holidays. How do you do this without seeming too religious?

Kiser: There's a chapter at the end of the book called "How to Not Be That Christian" because I think we all know or have known those people ... or, if we're being honest with ourselves, we have been those people — that are just too religious during the holidays. My hope is that those of us who have struggled with being too religious and those of us in our generation who are too relevant can find a happy medium place.

So, in every holiday chapter you have that holy and set apart approach to it. But then the generation that I'm in has come in and said, 'OK, well I don't want to be that way.' And so, they are being too relevant. The hope is that we could come someplace in the middle of saying, let's be all about Jesus, but also all about loving others really, really well.

Patch: Here we are weeks away from Christmas, the first holiday you intentionally sought to make holy and set apart. If I started today, what steps should I take?

Kiser: The number one thing, is find yourself an Advent study — whether it's a "sacred holidays" one or some other one. So, do that. It will engage your heart in the story of Christmas, in celebrating who God is and that He has come for every person. I would also encourage you to do that with friends. Gathering with other people will be a significant change to your Advent — to making it more about Jesus.

But after that, a really simple practice is to do Advent candles. This is something some of us might have seen growing up in church and others of us might still not even know exactly what Advent is. I think candles is a super simple practice that you can do to help engage your heart, the same way your lights on your Christmas tree make you feel whimsy and excited about Christmas coming. This is a less than $5 challenge ... five candles. You start with them all dark because before Christ has come, when we are without Christ, we're without hope. We are in the midst of the unknown. We can't see the way. Then every Sunday, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, you light a candle. On Christmas Day, you light the fifth and final candle. I promise you, that as you see those lights all lit on Christmas morning, you have watched your heart go from darkness to light, you see that Christ, the light of the world — that He has come.

So Bible study, gathering with friends, and do some advent candles will be three super easy ways that you can pursue less chaos and more Jesus.

Patch: You've got a chapter for each holiday and birthdays. Do you have a favorite?

Kiser: Right now, I would have to say it's a tie and it's a funny tie, but my favorite holiday is Halloween and Christmas, which are very strange holidays to have together. I love Halloween so much because it's the one time of the year that all of our neighbors come out onto the streets, where they actually knock on our door, and so, we get to be the light of the world. But, I love Christmas too. As I started practicing Advent, it's just changed from being all about the presents, and the stress, and the fun, and so many up and down emotions. Now, I'm just really intentionally focusing on God's coming and focusing on what it was like before Him, when I was in darkness. Instead of going into the New Year burnt out, to go into it already at the top of the roller coaster. Just ready for God to do a wild ride for the year.

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