The holidays are hard to navigate for all families, not just blended families. There are choices to make—whose family do we visit, how do we keep everything fair, and how do we fit in all the activities, yet keep our sanity? Emotions run high—we have expectations for togetherness and love, but sometimes the scheduling hustle gets the best of us.
The truth is that it’s especially complex for blended family holidays. Your kids may not even be there on the special day, they may compare their gifts from house to house, or they might be grumpy at the big family meal because it was transition day. Not to mention that as a parent, you may feel grief or anxiety about all of the above. You just really miss your children during such a special season. So what do you do with that?
Our enemy, Satan, wants nothing more than to interrupt your ability to find the peace and reassurance that comes from our God. But the truth is that God is actively painting a beautiful picture of your family, and even if you feel sadness over the specifics of your family, God is still good.
There’s a Scripture in Ephesians that is commonly shared among believers, but if you back up a few verses, there’s a specific sentence that gives hope to blended families. To all families, really.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV
If you’re feeling unseen or overwhelmed in the midst of your blended family, allow yourself to be filled with the peace and fullness that comes from God. He has named your family as His own and loves you beyond comprehension!
So how do you approach the holidays? How do you make the most of your time together as a blended family? Here are a few ideas to help.
1. Make a calendar. Get a paper calendar and sit down with your children—and your spouse too if you’re married—and write down upcoming activities. Find open nights and block them off for family time. Use crayons to color in the days that they get to visit the rest of their family. Also, color in the days they get to look forward to time together at your house! If your kids are older and unimpressed with the crayons, you can skip those. ? Instead, consider sitting at the table with phones out, updating a shared calendar app to prioritize the things that matter most.
2. Connect through activities at home. Find some special matching hot chocolate mugs and Christmas socks at the dollar store and get cozy with your family to watch a Christmas movie. Or bake cookies and decorate them together. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, so take the opportunity to scale back expectations you place on yourself and simply enjoy the moment. Pastor Craig recently said, “Impressing you is not the same as connecting with you.” Deep down, what kids want most is the connection.
3. Display generosity. Help your kids buy their other parent a surprise treat like their favorite candy or a coffee gift card. If they have a sibling at their other home, help them find a gift for that sibling and give them the cash to buy it. If they’re going on a trip with their other family, send them off with a little road trip goodie bag that they can share with their cousins or other siblings.
Quite honestly, your heart may not be ready for this. But in an act of obedience and to mirror the heart of Christ, lead the way by displaying a giving, generous spirit. Help them find ways to honor their entire family while choosing to let your actions communicate that you care about what they love.
4. Pray for your child’s entire family–not just yours. As a Christ follower, you pray about other aspects of your life, so why not openly pray with your child for someone they love? No matter the situation, your child has some level of love or bond with their other parent. You could tell God thank you for the time your child got to spend doing a certain activity with their other parent or thank Him that they got a new puppy at their other home. You could pray for that other parent to experience the love of Jesus during the holidays. If their other parent is not in the picture, pray for the relationships in their lives that are influential and meaningful. Through prayer, ask God for His blessing and favor over your child’s time with the rest of their family. Prayer may not always change a situation, but it always changes you.
Christmas is all about celebrating the generosity and forgiveness that Jesus brings. Instead of packing your month full of “all the things” or sinking into the pain of what you don’t have, focus on reflecting the character of Jesus in the way you connect with and serve your family during the Christmas season.
Interested in talking to your kids more about who God is? Then check out these resources below.
Resources and Discussion Questions for Talking to Your Kid About the Nature of God at Any Age
Here are some quick links to free resources about the nature of God for your kids at each developmental level. You can also try these discussion starters to begin a conversation with your kid about the nature of God.
For Your Preschoolers (Or Verbal Toddlers—It’s Never Too Early to Start!)
- Start this Bible Plan together.
- Go on the Bible Adventure called “The First Christmas Gift: Always With Us” together with your little ones. Each time they watch it, they’ll pick up new things.
- As you work through this topic together, try asking some of these questions:
- Who is always with you?
- Does God ever leave you?
- Why does God stay with you all the time?
For Your Elementary Kids
- Start this Bible Plan about who God is.
- Watch the “Nature of God” Konnect HQ episodes with your child.
- As you work through this topic together, use these questions as a jumping-off place:
- What does God do to show He’s a great Father?
- God is faithful and keeps His promises even when we are frustrated, upset, or make mistakes. What do you think about that?
- God loved us first—how can we love Him back?
For Your Preteens
- Start this Bible Plan about who God is with your preteen. If they have their own Bible App account, invite them to join you in a Plan with Friends.
- Watch these great episodes of The Loop Show about the nature of God.
- As you work through this topic together, ask the questions below:
- In John 3:16, it says that God loved the whole world enough to give His Son to take the place of the punishment we deserve for our sins. What does that say about how much God loves us?
- What’s one way that God shows love to you?
- This Christmas, how can you try to keep God closer to your thoughts, feelings, and actions?
For Your Teenagers
- Encourage your teen to start a Bible Plan with their friends.
- Ask your teen if they’ve seen the Switch episodes about the nature of God.
- Talk to your teen about who God is. Try asking the questions below:
- Who is God to you? How do you think someone’s understanding of God affects how they live?
- Read Colossians 1:15 NLT together. Who is Jesus? How does knowing who Jesus is help you better understand who God is? Why do you think God chose to become a human being?
- What is one thing you can do tomorrow to show someone the love of God?