Christmas is over and it’s a New Year, which I am excied about! It’s a time we all start thinking of goals and things we want to do differently in our personal and home life. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to share with the sisters in my ward my thoughts about having a Christ Centered Home, not just at Christmas time, but all year round. Althought I felt very inadequate to be the one giving the talk, I was greatful for the things I learned and decided that this is something we all need to work on.
While I try daily to have Christ be the center of my home, at times I feel like, as a parent, I am failing at this task. After thinking about it for a while the thought came to me that I am doing the best I can and I try to improve every day. I also realized that it isn’t about me or if I am qualified to tell others how to have a Christ Centered home, it’s about all of us learning and growing together. Today I thought I would share with you some great ideas to help make Christ the center of your home. Some come from personal experience and some come from ideas I read while preparing for my talk.
Having a Christ Centered Home All Year Round
Elder Richard G. Scott said ..
One of the greatest blessings we can offer to the world is the power of a Christ-centered home where the gospel is taught, covenants are kept, and love abounds.
I want to ask you a question that you can ponder as you read….What does a Christ Centered Home look and feel like to you?
The first thing we need to do is Invite Christ into our Homes. How do we do that? I love this scripture in D&C 88:119. It says:
Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
This scripture is like a guide map to a Christ centered home. I could end right there with this verse, but I also discovered some other great ways to invite Christ into our homes that I want to share. Its important to understand that these things do not happen overnight. Emily Freeman says, “A home where Jesus could choose to abide doesn’t just happen by chance; it is something we must intentionally create day after day after day.”
Have Daily Scriptures Study
Christ is the ultimate example of how we should live our lives. He taught us how to live, and his example is written throughout the scriptures. One of the most important things we can do in our home is learn more of Him by studying our scriptures as a family and personally. I know that the days I have personal and family scriptures study I am a happier person, and I deal better with the challenges of life. In 2 Nephi 32:3 it says “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” By teaching our children the scriptures they learn where to go to get answers to their own prayers.
Say Prayers Daily
Do your children see you pray? Do you pray for each other specifically? I once heard someone say we should Pray Big! Do we really talk to God like He is our Father, the One we can go to for advice, comfort, and healing when we are struggling? Recently I had to have a discussion with my children about the fact that we are actually talking to a person when we are praying, to the God that created this world. Just like we all probably do at times, a couple of my boys say the same things over and over when they pray, and I can tell they just aren’t thinking about what they are saying. After pointing this out to my 5-year-old, his prayers have changed so much. He is using bigger words, and really focusing on what he is praying about! It’s been so sweet to see that change in him. I can now tell that he know he is talking to God!
Have Weekly Famly Home Evening
Gospel teaching can’t just be done at church. We need to make sure we are talking about and teaching important princples of the gospel often in our homes. The church has asked us to set aside time for weekly family home evening lessons. These are so important. I have found that even if it is just a short lesson where we have a gospel discussion around the dinner table, or read an article out of The Friend, my children are still learning. These lessons help them know how important it is to be devoted to having a Christ centered home ever day, not just on Sundays!
Attend Church Meetings
Another way to have a Christ centered home is to attend all of our church meetings and participate the lessons. We love to have discussions with our kids about how church was for them, about what they learned in their classes. This last week one of my sons had a hard time at church. I was able to talk to him about why we go to church and the importance of the Sacrament. Church can be hard, especially with young ones. I remember many Sundays of fussy children and crying babies when I didn’t get much out of the 3 hours of church. But by going we are showing our children how important it is to come to church, to learn of Christ, and to partake of the sacrament.
Even after we do all these things, sometimes we don’t’ think our children are listening or learning from our efforts in the home. Sometimes it may even feel like we are the only ones in the family who care if we have Christ at the center of our home, but I think our children do care. Our children seek peace daily. They want to have a home where they know they can go to find that peace. Elder Maynes says….
“We learned that our children might not remember everything about the family home evening lesson later in the week, but they would remember that we held it. We learned that later in the day at school they would probably not remember the exact words of the scriptures or the prayer, but they would remember that we did read scriptures and we did have prayer. Brothers and sisters, there is great power and protection for us and our youth in establishing celestial traditions in the home.”
If you have ever worried that your kids, especially your little ones, aren’t listening or caring about the things you are teaching, I assure you that often they really are listening, even when you think they aren’t! I wrote about an experience HERE where I shared my thoughts on this. Now I am not saying this happens 100% of the time, but I have seen this many many times in my 13 years of being a mother. I am always amazed at how much my sweet kids are getting out of our family scripture study, family homes evening lessons, and church meetings when they have been wiggly and when I think they aren’t really paying attention. I usually realize it a few days or even weeks later when we are having a discussion and my younger kids spout off an answer, or remind me of a story I told during a school lesson. It is amazing how much our children can absorb, even when we think they aren’t listening.
Memorize Scriptures/Quotes Together
We like to memorize a scripture or quote every couple of weeks. I find a scripture or thought that I think would be good for us to learn at that time and I share it with my kids. We memorize it and apply it to our own lives. There have been many times when the scripture or quote we memorized was just the thought we needed for the month.
Ask God Daily for Direction
When I think about the life of Jesus Christ, I realize that when He needed direction He asked His Father what He should do. We must teach our children to make choices and allow them to see from our examples that we use Christ in our lives every day. We can help them understand that God cares about all that they do every day. When I was young I used to ask my mom to help me make the decisions I had to make. (I wanted her to make the deision for me whether big or small.) Before giving me any advice or telling me what she would do, she would say, “Did you ask God?” Sometimes I would get so frustrated. I wanted her to tell me what to do, but I always walked away, said a prayer, and the answer would come. Now in my life I like to have God direct my whole day. I know that no matter how big or small the decision, He cares about my day. I know that when I ask for His guidance it brings the Spirit into our home to a greater degree.
Incorporate Service Into Your Life
Serving others is a huge way to make Christ the center of our home. This month as we have particpated in the Light The World campaign I have felt the Spirit of Christ in our home more often. This feeling doesn’t have to go away after Christmas. There are so many ways to serve all year long.
Recognize the Spirit and How you are Being Blessed
Helping our children recognize when the Sprit is in or not in our homes is important. When there is contention, we can teach our children that the feeling they are experiencing is not from the Spirit. We can also help our families members recognize when they are feeling the Spirit or when they are being blessed by the Lord. A few months ago we had a crazy day where so many things happened that were obvious blessings from God. It was the perfect opportunity to help my whole family recognize God’s grace in our lives. Had I not pointed out the things that happened, my kids wouldn’t have thought about it at all. By the end of or day we had counted 10 things that helped us realized God cared about us! For years, almost every night before scripture study we say something we are thankful for. Because of the day when we counted 10 miracle, we have now decided to take turns telling where we have seen the hand of God in our day!
Create a Physical Environment Where the Spirit can Dwell
We can also do some physical things to have a Christ centered home. We can create a home that is clean and organized to our standard. That is different for everyone, and that is just fine. I know that when my home is in order the Spirit is better able to speak to me. We can also put pictures and quotes on our wall that remind us of Christ and His teachings! I recently made a quote wall in my home and when I hear a thought I know would be good for my whole family I make a little Meme, and print it out, and put it on our wall. Also good music, TV shows, and movies help us have a more Christ centered home!
A few other things we can do to help have a more Chirst centered home …
Have good communication in our homes
Listen to eachother
Smile a lot
Unplug every day
Over-use please, thank you, I’m sorry, I love you
Show gratitude for everything you have
Having a Christ Centered Home Provides a Place of Refuge not Only for our Children but for Others.
Elder Scott says…
As you center your home on the Savior, it will naturally become a refuge not only to your own family but also to friends who live in more difficult circumstances. They will be drawn to the serenity they feel there. Welcome such friends into your home. They will blossom in that Christ-centered environment. Become friends with your children’s friends. Be a worthy example to them.
I have seen this bless so many people. Many friends who have homes that aren’t ideal or where Christ isn’t the center often seek refuge in homes where they know they are safe and can feel the Spirit!
This is a great time of year to assess our lives, and ask ourselves what we can do to place Christ at the center of our homes. I sat around the kitchen table with my family the other night and asked each person to share one thing they thought we did good and one thing they thought we could work on, so that Christ would be the center of our home more often. Sometimes, as moms, we come up with a “plan” and hope to incorporate it on our own, but if we get the whole family involved and ask their opinion then everyone is more on board. So pick one thing, with your family, that you could do better. Don’t try to do everything at once. Just pick one, and work on it for the month.
I have found that as we incorporate these things into our family life, things feel easier, arguments or frustrations with each other are settled in a better way, and the Spirit quickly comes back into our home. The task of having a Christ centered home takes a continuous effort. No one does it perfectly, but it we are doing the best we can, our attitudes and efforts will influence our family and those around us and help them to learn to center their own lives on the Savior!
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year, and that you, along with me, make it a goal to have Christ at the center of your home all year long!