Christmas is such a wonderful time of year! A celebratory time to reflect upon the arrival of Christ into our fallen human world. He came to establish His kingdom on this earth, and although He is not physically present, He continues His work of bringing about His kingdom and it will be completed at His return. It is interesting how humbly He came. Have you ever thought it funny that the kings came and brought gifts and the shepherds heard and welcomed the Messiah…but then we do not hear of these men any further. As far as we know, they did not go about and declare this good news! It is not until thirty years later that people finally start acknowledging the Savior. And even then He is put to death only three years later. Praise God that although He came and lived in such humility, He is now reigning in heaven as the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world!
Here are a few resources and ideas that we have found helpful:
Advent Reading – This year we have been reading through Watch for the Light by a compilation of different authors (C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, etc.) on the advent and meaning of Christmas. It is very good and insightful. We have our advent wreath as our centerpiece at our table, but we don’t necessarily always read around it. We bring the book with us in the car to read while driving or in our bedroom before turning out the lights. I recommend it! It may be a little deep for little ones, but then it gives our hubby’s opportunity to truly teach and expand upon it. Aaron has had to do this for me many times already. This is a picture of our advent wreath. I bought the wreath and a simple garland that I stuffed in it after Christmas last year when everything went on sale. I like the red and white candle theme, although many people do purple, pink and white.
Jesus Gift – I mentioned this a little while ago. This is a special way to minister to a specific need in your church body this Christmas!
Thankfulness Box – a few year back our family designated a basket throughout the month of December in which we would write down special memories that had transpired throughout the year. Every time a memory came to one of us we would write it on a slip of paper, fold it up, and put it in the basket. As we took turns opening gifts on Christmas morning, we would each read one of the memories and reflect on all the blessings that God had poured out on us throughout the year. It was a time to reminisce and remember times together as a family. It was wonderful!
Neighbor Gifts – Last year, a few close friends and I got together and made cookies for each of our neighbors. It was a fun event to do together and so much easier that way! In the past, my family has also made simple table arrangements with fresh greenery and decorations. A very nice gift for the neighbors and friends. It didn’t happen this year, but I was thinking today that I would still really like to do something, but I was discouraged because I thought it was too late. Never! Even if they arrive after Christmas, it is the thought and love of Christ that we are sharing. I am setting aside some time on Saturday to make some simple lemon bread in little loaves for our neighbors. It doesn’t have to be extravagant…I just want to communicate the true meaning of the season! True joy comes from giving and not receiving. Giving the gift of life!
Local Holiday Events – I love going to different holiday events! This year we went to a live journey through Bethlehem put on by a local church. Tomorrow evening we are going to the Grotto Festival of Lights, which is actually a catholic event, but they have a really neat retelling of the Christmas story as you walk through their beautifully decorated and lighted grounds and hear different groups sing in their large chapel (beautiful acoustics). Powerful! We have invited a neighbor couple to go with us. What events take place in your town? Maybe you can invite your neighbors to participate?
Christmas Day – Gingerbread Pancakes at our home for breakfast (I used a similar recipe, although I replace whole wheat flour for the white flour and I don’t use the cocoa powder or nuts). We started this special Christmas breakfast last year and the hubby loves them! Make a special family breakfast and read the Christmas story together. We kept our gifts simple this year: stockings only. I loved it and think we will keep this as a tradition for the future.
Ornaments – each year we are aiming to find a ornament that represents a significant event that happened in our life throughout the year (birth of a child, vacation, etc). My husband’s family did this while growing up. Each child would get a new ornament that represented the year or something they did together as a family, etc. to add to their own personal ornament collection. When they got married, they could take their collection with them. So this year we added “Karis’ First Christmas” to our collection.
Check out my friend Kimi’s blog for some other resources for Holiday Ideas.
Merry Christmas to you all!