I love the Christmas season and it is my favorite time of the year. It can be a very busy time of the year, a time where if we are not careful we can get swept up in “all we have to do”or “all we don’t have and can’t do” and miss out on truly celebrating the season. It can also be a season of sadness when you have lost a loved one like we did my Mom this year, and you really don’t feel like it, but it is with joy I decorate this year like Mom did. I have two special “really old” ornaments from Mom’s and Dad’s tree placed on top beside a picture of them and my sisters that was a simple, precious homemade gift from one of my sisters a few Christmas’ back. What a treasure!
I love all of it, and what I love most is keeping Christ in Christmas. So how do you do it? I would love to hear your ideas. I wanted to share a few ideas of how I do it and looking for some new ones this year so please share. I want Jesus to be the focus, and I want to make memories and continue traditions that my parents taught me, and continue those that my husband and I have started. Hopefully some of them will be special enough that our children and grandchildren will come to cherish a few and pass them on.
I want to start adding the names of Jesus as ornaments on my tree. Maybe I can buy some after Christmas.
Tip 2 – As I ponder on what happened on the cross started in a tiny manger, I am so excited as I pull out each one! I put a manger in every room of the house, and I keep my crosses out and decorate them with red or green beads to make them festive. Here is a plate with a manger I have in the master bedroom.
I put a huge manger my Mom gave me years ago on my piano. Isn’t it beautiful. I started to tear up when I put it up yesterday, but I kept pulling it out of the boxes and so thankful that Mom gave me pieces of this for several Christmas’.
Tip 4 – Send Christmas cards that reflect something about the Messiah!
Tip 6 – Read the Christmas story to your family on Christmas Eve or Day. Luke 2.
Tip 7– Attend a church candlelight service.
Tip 9 – Give to a special project or to something important. I have a compassion child that I support throughout the year with a special gift on Christmas. And I always send that little girl a special scripture each time I write her hoping that someday she will continue to spread God’s love in that country. Support projects at church and for others. This year we also gave to several causes one of which is close to our heart. Our grandson Colt was born with EB (a horrible skin disease). If you are looking for a project to donate to please consider donating to finding a cure for EB. Check out the Pray for Baby Colt page on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pray-for-baby-Colt/350863471710362
Tip 10 – Have an advent table or a Jesse tree. I have not done this because I didn’t learn about it until the kids were grown, but can’t wait to do it with our new grandson.
Tip 11 – Have a birthday cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
I put a pad and a pen on a table and I asked each family member to give something to Jesus, write it on the paper and put it in the stocking. Make sure it is private and ut I told them it would be private and between them and Jesus. This could also be a stocking where you kids place coins from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve and then that money be donated to a needy family or organization.
Tip 13 – Bake treats for neighbors (including those you don’t know – it’s a good way to get to know them), and shut-ins in your church or take some to the staff at a hospital if you are visiting there. I always took some type of treats to the staff when I would visit my Mom at the nursing home during any holidays. Add a ribbon and a special Bible verse to bless them.
Tip 14 – Make a names of Jesus garland and hang it. Instructions here. http://thehomespunheart.blogspot.com/2008/12/names-of-jesus-garland-tutorial.html
And here is another with the names of Jesus: http://worthyoftheprize.blogspot.com/2012/12/25-names-of-jesus-day-21-savior.html
And here is a names of Jesus Christmas wreath. http://www.posedperfection.com/2012/12/names-of-jesus-christmas-wreath.html
Tip 15 – KEEP your Christmas cards. I actually hang all my cards on my mini-blinds in my dining area and the letters go in a box on the kitchen counter. They stay up until about February. Each day beginning January 1 we pull a card and pray over that family. We do this every year. A new tradition I started years ago. Some years when time permits I will drop a letter, an email, or a facebook message to let that family or person know we lifted them in prayer. I do this instead of Christmas letters. Many years I’ll add a letter to the response we send back to them. (You can also read my blog about how I pray over each card I address here. https://mixwilliams.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/christmas-cards-18-days-until-christmas/ )
Tip 17 – A star. Place it on top of your tree or somewhere else. I have one on top of one of my curio cabinets and some on my Christmas tree. Talk to your children and explain what the star represents and why it is important. And if you begin to feel stress or hurry through this season, stop and remember Christ’s birth every time you see the star.
And I also added a chalkboard picture and wrote Come Let Us ADORE Him!
Tip 19: Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas. It isn’t Xmas. When we put an X in CHRISTmas we take out life’s most precious name.
Tip 20: When you are out shopping remember to say Merry Christmas – not happy holidays. When someone says Happy Holidays, tell them thank you and Merry Christmas.
Tip 21: Enjoy good Christian music and books. I blogged a bit with a few of my favorite Christmas songs. I recently bought the book “The Women of Christmas” by Liz Curtis Higgs and hope to start reading it tomorrow. Play some music while you are decorating the tree with the family. How about Come on ring those bells, light the Christmas tree? While you play that the family is reminded in that song that it is Jesus’ birthday.
Tip 22: Take your pastor and his family out to eat or have them over to eat. Give them a special gift either homemade, baked or bought.
Tip 23: Gather the family around your Christmas tree. Hold hands and pray before you open presents giving thanks to the One who gave us the greatest gift of all!
Tip 24: Invite a widow, widower or someone alone (like a college student) for Christmas dinner with your family.
Tip 25: The baby Jesus received three gifts. Give you children 3 gifts.