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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Family Focus Friday: Preparing for Christmas

My husband and I attend a Bible church where they don't follow a liturgy or the church seasons, and when it comes to holidays I miss that. I miss Lent and Advent and the leading up to the Big Day, whether it be Easter (or Resurrection Day as our church prefers to call it) or Christmas. So this year, now having a child, I've been thinking a lot about what traditions I want to start for our family at home and how we can celebrate these holidays so our children understand these significant events in life.

This article "The Real Meaning of Christmas" provides some suggestions on teaching your child the true meaning of Christmas. I'll summarize the points here for you, but go to the article for additional info...

1. Start a family tradition of reading the story of Jesus' birth. (Luke 2)
2. Listen to and sing Christmas music that focuses on reason for the season. (good ol' hymns)
3. Involve your kids in displaying the Nativity scene.
(Here's a cute, child-proof one from Fisher Price)
4. Celebrate Saint Nicholas Day (Dec. 6). If you still want to exchange presents, do it on this day and explain who St. Nicholas was and how he came to be part of Christmas tradition. Then on Christmas Day keep the focus on Jesus.
5. Light the candles of the Advent wreath during the four weeks leading up to Christmas. (that starts
this Sunday!) Advent means "coming" and is observed in many churches in anticipation of Jesus' birth.
6. Attend a Christmas pageant or concert at an area church.
While this won't be happening this year, I kind of like the idea of moving gift-giving to St. Nicholas Day. Not sure how that works with family get-togethers. But hmm.... I'll have to see what Hubby thinks about it. After all Christmas isn't about presents or even family. It's about CHRIST.

Last year we were given a small Advent Devotional for the 24 days leading up to Christmas Day. So this year, even though Eli is too young for the craft activities included, I'd like to make a special time each day to read through the day's devotion. I look forward to when he's a little older and can understand more and participate, but already I am often surprised at just how much he understands now!

And here's another article, called "Keep Jesus the Focus of Christmas," that has this great idea about cards and letters:

Make it a priority to send out Christmas cards that points people to Christ. Whether it is through the design or the wording, send out cards that focus on Christ and the meaning of Christmas as opposed to Santa or other secondary matters.

Enclose a Christmas letter with your card and make a point of sharing what Christ is doing in your life. The letter can be brief, but this is the one time of the year it is especially natural to share what Christ is doing in your life with all of the people who are important to you.

Place all of the Christmas cards you receive in a pretty box or basket. Each day, take a card out of the box, read it, and pray specifically for the person who sent it. Consider going through the cards again and again, specifically praying for the sender all year.

Oh, I just love this idea about praying for a family each night! I think we might adopt this tradition!

Besides getting busy with Christmas shopping and decorating your house, what are you doing to prepare for Christmas? For the celebration of Christ's birth? What are you doing to teach your children about the importance of this holiday and what it really means?
(Don't feel obligated to do a whole post about this. Just a comment would be nice.)


Rose said...

What a beautiful inspiring post for families. I could not even imagine celebrating Christmas without my husband reading the Christmas Story from Luke2. You have so many great ideas to prepare and celebrate Christ's birth. As a homeschooling mom I am going to use this post for my bible class time with my children. Thankyou so much for sharing. Come and visit-I have been meme'd and I have posted. Blessings, Rose

AmyD said...

Great ideas Sarah!

According to HIS Power said...

These are beautiful ideas, Sarah! I am thinking on what we are going to do this year, most likely we will incorporate a lot of these ideas. I will post about it as soon as I get it all together, we do not even have our tree up yet! SO many things have been going on. Thanks for the sweet comments. I appreciate all of them. Just a word of warning, if you make the Italian Cream Cake you will never want to stop eating it!

Love and Prayers,


According to HIS Power said...

I have a post up about this! I am not through yet, though. I am still working on another post about "The 12 Days of Christmas" and some other traditions we are starting! Just wanted to let you know so you could read it if you want.

Love and Prayers,