Keeping Christ in Christmas

Lights, presents and Santa Claus are just a few of the Christmas season trappings. How can we keep the focus on Christ…the real reason for Christmas? This article will present ideas on how to point our children (and ourselves) in the direction of glorifying God and honoring His Son, the greatest gift ever given and ever received.

The Nativity

“The first thing we do is put up our Nativity set the Sunday after Thanksgiving,” shares PEACH member Lee A. “It is the only thing we have for the first week.” Lee adds, “The next Sunday, we set up Advent candles and the light the first one with a reading. (The Nativity is in the living room and the candles are in the dining room.) Then the next Saturday we decorate our Christmas tree. I started doing it this way when my children were about 6, 4, and 2 because they would get SO excited over the tree and it suddenly hit me that what I wanted them to get excited about was NOT the tree.”

An Advent Calendar

Cyndy C., another PEACH member, shares that years ago she made an Advent calendar based on the names of Jesus. She used felt, sandpaper and a hot glue gun to make ornaments that represent the names of Jesus, such as shepherd’s staff, rock, gate and star. The back of the ornaments have sandpaper glued to them so that they will stick to the felt tree which she placed at the top of the calendar. The bottom of the calendar has 25 pockets that hold the ornaments. Each night a child takes a felt ornament and looks up the Bible verse that correlates with that name. The verse is read by that child or by someone who can read. Year after year the calendar remains a highlight in the Cusson family and the eternal benefit is memorizing God’s Word by the yearly repetition.

Blessing Basket

Another neat idea comes from a family Cyndy knows. They have a basket that is shaped like a manger and a doll representing baby Jesus that fits in it. Each night in December leading up to Christmas, they verbally share things that they have done that day to bless someone else. For every kind thing, they get to put three strands of yellow yarn into the manger, slowly creating a soft bed for Jesus on Christmas Day. The first strand represents God who is glorified through our kindness and the other two strands are for the people who are blessed by the kindness—the person doing the kind thing and the person receiving the kindness.

Give to Others

Lee A. also gave these ideas that her family has done. She feels that all of these activities have helped her kids realize that Christmas is God’s great gift to us and that the focus in on giving, not getting.

  • Singing carols to shut-ins
  • Buy a gift for a child in need
  • Make fruit baskets for the elderly in your church
  • With your Sunday School class, collect money all year long to purchase an animal through Heifer International for needy families.

Books and Online Resources

Family Celebrations for Christmas by Ann Hibbard

Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper

http://www.easyfunschool.com/Blessed.pdf a unit study encompassing the symbols of Christmas. Lots of activities and suggestions are included.

http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=23 a website that gives the story of who St. Nicholas was, traditions in other countries,  as well as activities, crafts, recipes and games all to do with the “real” St. Nicholas.

Wrapping it all up

In her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Noel Piper says, “Christmas is only one small part of a whole year of living, working and ministering in our churches and to our neighbors, of meeting our family’s physical needs, of teaching our children. Just one small part of the year—but with our hearts and spirits open in anticipation and excitement, what an ideal opportunity for remembering and teaching.” So, with prayer and planning, may you honor and glorify Christ this Christmas.

The Reason For The Season Luke 2:4-20

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

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