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7 Tips for Keeping Christ in Christmas

December 1, 2014 by

nativity

I’m sure that expressions like the reason for the season and keeping Christ in Christmas have become cliché, but I would challenge us to live these out this Christmas. Cliché or not, they are Biblical and should be the heart of Christians, not only at Christmastime, but throughout the year.

You see, what is meant to be a time of year that we ponder and celebrate the birth of our Savior, can very quickly become a season of stress, overscheduling, and overspending.

While I am not anti-spending, gift-giving, or Christmas-partying, I do think that the gift of Jesus should be at the heart of the ways that we celebrate.

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” ~Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

I’d like to share 7 Tips for Keeping Christ in Christmas:

1. Nativity – While Christmas decorations can be endless, the most important thing we set up each year is our Nativity. Make sure your children help as it is a wonderful teaching opportunity. Consider allowing your children to choose (or make) their own. Involving them in this process helps them to keep the perspective of this precious time of the year. Here is one example of how to make a nativity from clothespins.

2. Advent wreath – I didn’t grow up celebrating Advent, but the word simply means “coming”. Celebrating with an Advent wreath not only gives you a beautiful centerpiece, but a wonderful way to focus on Scripture and, ultimately, the return of our King. You can read about how do that here.

3. Jesse Tree  And again, Isaiah says: “There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.” ~Romans 15:12 (NKJV) (see also Isaiah 11:1 and Isaiah 11:10)

We don’t set up a Christmas tree anymore. (Our cat won’t let us!) Once I learned about a Jesse tree, however, I haven’t missed the traditional tree in our home. I learned about the Jesse tree when we attended a service at a local church a few years ago. You can read about that here.

My favorite Christmas book, The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp is an absolute treasure! Her book centers around the Jesse Tree and is the perfect way to keep my heart and thoughts focused on “the full love story of Christmas”.

4. Charity – Jesus asked us to remember the “least of these” and to care for “the poor, orphans, and widows”. (see Matthew 25:40, Isaiah 1:17, and James 1:27 

Christmas has been so over-commercialized that those who struggle financially feel their lack the greatest at Christmastime. The inability to celebrate with food, decorations, gifts, and parties is more obvious in December than at any other time of year.

Out of our abundance, let us resolve to give generously this year.

One of our favorite ways to do this is the Advent Conspiracy. You can read my post on how our family does that here.

Another wonderful way, not only to give, but to teach our children how to think of others is by participating in Operation Christmas Child. Each year, my children head into the dollar store, grab a plastic shoe box, and walk around the store filling it with toys, treats, and anything else their heart desires. This has been an excellent experience for them to consider children around the world who literally have nothing. You can read more about this wonderful charity here.

Both of these charities do take some time and thought, which to me is an important reason for participating in them. If, however, you find yourself unable to participate due to a lack of time, please prayerfully consider supporting these charities (or others) financially.

Let us remember that charities serve people and people have needs all year round, not just at Christmas. Let us resolve to give generously this Christmas and for all of 2015!

5. Community – Christmas is a wonderful time to reach out to our communities!

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” ~Mark 10:45 (NKJV)

You know that neighbor you’ve never met? How about baking them a plate of fudge and delivering it to their door with a card and well wishes for a Merry Christmas?

And that retirement home you drive by on your way to work each day? Maybe you and a group of friends could visit one evening with plates of cookies and sing a few Christmas carols. (Our local retirement home likes for us to come at the end of meal time as all of the residents are in one place).

Donate food to a local food bank. Call a local shelter and ask about donating gifts. Participate in an Angel Tree. Buy a gift certificate to a grocery store for a family you know is struggling to put food on the table. Pay a utility bill to help keep a family warm this winter.

We are celebrating the most incredible gift the world has ever known. Out of our gratitude, let us bless others as abundantly as we can!

6. Homemade Christmas – If your budget doesn’t allow for gifts, parties, decorations, and special Christmas treats, resolve to celebrate a homemade Christmas.

Our favorite thing to do as a family is to make each other gift certificates. My kids make each other “coupons” that say things like: “I will do your chores for you for a day”. I give my kids gift certificates for a day off from school. (We homeschool). My husband usually gets one for a homemade dessert of his choice. We can be creative and have fun without spending any money.

Make homemade Christmas decorations, ornaments, cookies, gifts, wrapping paper, and cards. The focus can be on spending time together as a family. Remember that we are creating memories that last a lifetime.

7. Books and Movies – We do own most of these as we have collected them over the years, but you can also check your local library to see if you may borrow them for free. This is a small sampling of our favorites:

Louie Giglio’s – The Twelve Words of Christmas (my all-time favorite Christmas DVD!)

The Nativity Story (We watch this movie as a family every year)

Veggie Tales: The Ultimate Christmas Collection (A wonderful collection for young kids)

The Greatest Gift – Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp (my all-time favorite Christmas book!)

Immanuel – Praying the Names of God through the Christmas Season by Ann Spangler (LOVE this one, too!)

 O Holy Night (I read this with the kids every year) This covers the Christmas story from Isaiah to Luke, contains Christmas carols, poetry, and beautiful art work as well as “anecdotes about life in the Holy Land during Jesus’s time.” Our family treasures this book.

Max Lucado has several wonderful books on Christmas for both children and adults, as well as his movie The Christmas Candle.

There are countless other ways to keep the season focused on the true reason we celebrate. This is just a small sampling to get you started on thinking about how you can continue or begin your own family traditions.

What special ways does your family keep Christ at the center of Christmas? 
Shared at The Art of Homemaking MondaysHeather FariaThe SDG GatheringTeach Me TuesdayUNITEWonderful WednesdayGood Morning Mondays, & I Choose Joy!

Also at SHINE Blog HopServing JoyfullyWorshipful Living, A Little R&RJust Be Beth, A Look At The BookFaith Along the WayRenewed Daily, & 3-D Lessons For Life.

23 Responses to 7 Tips for Keeping Christ in Christmas

  1. Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper

    Loved your list Heather and all your ideas. It made me laugh too because I remember when I was a child our cat climbed up and knocked over our large Christmas tree in the middle of the night. My dad had to nail it to the floor! But in all seriousness, you are so right with all of these tips, one thing I need to work on more is charity. While we do donate, I want to get to a place where as a family we are actively serving together. Thanks for the great reminders!

    • Heather

      Thanks so much for sharing that story. I’m glad to know that we aren’t the only ones with Christmas tree and cat issues! Blessings to you and yours this Christmas, Victoria.

  2. Lauren

    Loved all of your ideas! I absolutely loved Ann Voskamp’s book. You mentioned Max Lucado- my son (he’s 13) and I read The crippled Lamb over and over during this season; we’ve been doing it since he was big enough to listen. And I love Operation Christmas Child =) Thanks for some great ideas… hadn’t thought about an Advent wreath.

    • Heather

      Thanks so much for reading, Lauren! Max’s books are so good – both for adults and for children. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas.

  3. bonniesteinborn

    Your guest blog is excellent and has great Scripture, books and other material. I have been gone too long and my knowledge of your listed books, videos and DVDs is almost non existent.
    Wish I knew more == but guess = at this stage of my life — it is OK to know the Bible story and let that be more than enough:)
    Keep on your wonderful writing –
    love in HIM ==forever

    • Heather

      You know, Bonnie, all of these additional resources are wonderful, but if all we had was the word of God, it would be more than enough. Blessings to you this Christmas, my friend. xo

  4. Mandy

    What a great post! These are some great tips for keeping Christ in Christmas and ones I will definitely try to implement this year and each year after that. Thank you for linking up on the SHINEbloghop!

  5. tmpresser

    What a fantastic post with such great ideas, and I love the ones that look to others to help them and bless them instead of ourselves. Thanks for sharing at Good morning mondays. Blessings

    • Heather

      That’s what the Christmas season should be about – sharing all that we have been blessed with with others. Thanks so much for hosting and for reading. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas.

    • Heather

      That’s what the Christmas season is about, right? Sharing our blessings with others out of our love for them and our appreciation to God. Thanks so much for reading. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas.

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