I love all things Christmas, but increasingly I am wanting to not let it get taken over by commercialism, stress or even seemingly good things that do not bring the true richness of why Christ followers celebrate. There is a need to be intentional as tugging at all our sleeves is a very different message – the message of the world’s perspective on Christmas as being a Holiday celebration only.
I know you are similar to me, you want to keep the CHRIST central to CHRISTMAS
But how do we do this? I have created a list of 21 ways we can keep CHRIST in Christmas.….they are below….be blessed as you pick some to do or see ones you already have adopted into your Christmas. When you have finished reading I would love you to comment below to let me know one thing you are being intentional about to keep your Christmas rich this year with Christ.
But firstly, I do need to do a quick caveat here that I LOVE Christmas so I am never going to be anti having Santa sacks, all the decorations – trees, fairy lights along with the festivities!
What I do know is, unless we keep reminding ourselves and those around us (especially children) what the CHRIST of Christmas celebration means we will dull it down to a good feed, focusing on just the joy of children unwrapping presents, packing for our family holiday and oh yes the delight at finally not having got socks or hankies for pressies this year from good old Aunt Betty!
There is a deep richness in drawing near to both others and Christ at Christmas not just for children, or just families but for all adults – all Christ Followers across the planet. I know there are many adults who feel lonely, brokenhearted or afraid at this time of year for a number of reasons all related to the fact life can be really tough sometimes. But can I compassionately and lovingly say many of these ideas I list below will bring you joy, they are not for just the traditional family of mum, dad, three kids and the dog!
Okay, so grab your hot choccy, mulled wine or whatever is your favourite Christmas drink and read on…
Christ in Christmas – Let’s Celebrate
- 1. ) Set up a Nativity scene in a central spot in your home – if you have children use it as a discussion point leading up to Christmas – you can have a special jar nearby with questions that are pulled out once a day that ask the children something about the Nativity scene to get a discussion going e.g. Where is Bethlehem and get them to find it on the map. Or it could be scriptures they have to look up in the Bible. There are many ideas you could utilise here.
- 2.) Participate in Advent – some ideas are the Jesse Tree where you hang an ornament each day from December 1st to prepare for Christmas or Advent Candle Wreath where a candle is lit every Sunday and one on Christmas Day or even the simple advent calendar where you swap the Santa/Rudolph one for one with a Christian focus. Each of these is full of rich meaning for adults and children that can become a family tradition.
- 3.) Daily devotional that unwraps Christmas – there are a number of family-friendly ones around that include a scripture and a conversational starter even the youngest can be involved in. AdventTableTop is one example. Like all of these 21 ideas, this is something you can do on your own if you are not in a family situation 🙂
- 4.) Have a playlist of Christ-centered Christmas music. I don’t mean we all need to get about ditching Snoopy’s Christmas we all love but let’s play lots of music to expresses the truth of Christ’s birth leading up to and including Christmas day. Here is a playlist of some options Playlist for this CHRIST season
- 5.) Read Christian Christmas books– Christmas stories each night with kids is a great idea but seriously you don’t need to be a child to do this – there are many adult Christian Christmas stories Christian Fiction and well, let’s face it most of us like kids Christmas stories too! Some examples are God Bless Our , A Star For Me and The King’s List
- 6.) Read the Christmas story (Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20).
- 7.) Christ came to serve the world – the greatest gift ever. We don’t always need to give material gifts and a gift of serving someone can be a welcome blessing to that person e.g. provide a garden help day to your sister.
- 8.) Limit the gifts – have a set number and budget for kids (and adults). Remind them it’s not their birthday it is HIS. Make sure grandparents understand this, as often they are really keen to be over indulgent at Christmas but can be redirected to birthdays and/or money for a family holiday.
- 9.) Watch movies that are great and emphasise the heart of Christmas – there are a number of ones that are great for kids – Veggie Tales Party, The Nativity Story. And it is pretty easy to find some good general family/adult ones. Create a tradition of weekly Christmas movies leading up to Christmas. Again, you don’t need to be a family to do this so don’t hold back on the joy!
- 10.) Don’t be a Christmas hoarder – each year look at your decorations and think is there anyone or an organization that would be blessed by some of this excess rather than you continuing to add to your stockpile but never releasing to others who may benefit. Oh, and I am not talking your second-hand half broken paper snowflake your son made two years ago! 🙂
- 11.) Buy or bake something special for your pastors or write a lovely Christmas card rich with words of appreciation. If you have children get them fully involved in this.
- 12.) Be a generous secret Santa or should I say Angel to a family, a person in either financial need or who could do with some blessing at what may be a difficult time of year for them (this is not always a family or single parent but could be a single adult, an elderly person, someone who has had an accident). Drop something off in secret to their home.
- 13.) Help your young kids to shop for their siblings – don’t just buy their gifts to give each other but teach them individually about choosing and wrapping to grow the heart attitude “we love to give gifts”.
- 14.) Give God a gift – we take a special offering at all our Christmas eve/day services towards charity work. I see this as a great way to express my love and thanksgiving to God – a gift on Christmas Eve/Day to Him. It could be any number of ways we give a gift to Him – a poem, a song, or time on our own thanking Him. With kids, you can include them in deciding as a family what to either give financially as a special Christmas offering or even create a jar where each day in the build up to December 25th you write something you are thankful to God for. Come Christmas Eve read them out together as a family.
- 15.) Use the gift of compassionate giving catalogues. I use Gift For Life where I can buy a gift on behalf of a person that is for a family in the Third World e.g. last year I bought a goat on behalf of a person and gave them a soft toy goat to unwrap along with the card explaining what they had been involved in.
- Closer to home many churches or local malls have Angel Trees where you chose a card with a child’s age on it and buy the gift for them. Both of these are great to involve kids in as it teaches them to care for others and that this time of year is not all about presents for me me me!
- 16.) Attend a Christmas Service (eve or the actual Christmas day it doesn’t matter which one of these but do go!) Seems obvious I know but many “Christ followers” opt out saying it’s a busy family time…seriously? Something is wrong with priorities and planning if that is the case. 🙁
- 17.) Write a letter or card to some missionaries, military and/or prisoners. For example Letter Writing To Prosecuted Christians
- 18.) Have a birthday cake for Jesus – a long time ago I spent Christmas with a lovely family who has this tradition – they started it for the helping the young kids understand Jesus was the center of Christmas and carried it on as a tradition. I love this.
- 19.) Read Luke 2 on Christmas eve/morning – either with family or on your own – create this into a tradition. It is great to slow down and put Christ at the center before the start of any zealous unwrapping of presents or frenzy festive food eating begins!
- 20.) Singles/groups of friends who get together before going their various ways over Christmas can create a special tradition of sharing stories, scriptures, and pray for the new year. This rich connection time brings joy and depth to Christmas. Being single does not mean Christmas should be any less rich for you nor does a Christmas day in a not yet Christian family environment mean you have to have a total non-CHRIST Christmas. All of the above ideas can be played out in your life.
- 21.) Include others in your day – with you for a meal and/or one year visit the local hospital, convalescent home, sheltered home with some goodies on the 25th December. There are countless ideas to include others – let your ideas roll!
I have loved sharing these ideas with you. Please take a quick minute now and write in the comments section below to let me know one thing you are being intentional about to keep your celebrations rich this year with Christ.
P.S Following on from Top 5 Ways To Manage Stress blog post last week let’s not try to do all twenty-one ideas! 🙂