Each year I try to incorporate meaningful experiences into our holiday season in hopes that they will become part of our Christmas traditions. My husband and I were both very blessed to have grown up in such wonderful families, and have carried many of the great traditions we enjoyed as children during Christmas time into our own little family. This year I really set my focus on finding more Christ-centered experiences that we could do together to invite the true spirit Christmas into our lives, and to remind my children of the significance of the season; the birth of our Savior– Jesus Christ.
I asked approximately one hundred women what they do within their families to keep Christ in Christmas. I was touched and inspired by many of the ideas they shared with me. In fact, I loved them so much that I wanted to share of few of my personal favorites with you.
- Find an open basket, a crate, or if you’re handy you could construct a small manger. Look for materials that represent hay. You can use actual straw if you don’t mind the mess, or opt for something that looks similar such as colored yarn, raffia, strips of paper, etc. Trim into small pieces if necessary. Put the “hay” in a separate basket from the one that will be used as the manger. Each time someone performs an act of selfless service for another, or goes above that which may be expected of them, they have the opportunity to place a piece of hay in the manger. On Christmas Eve gather as a family to discuss feelings about all the wonderful things that have occurred through the duration of the practice, and place a baby doll representing Jesus into His manger. The woman who told of this tradition tearfully shared that one year her six year old began to cry as they lay the baby Jesus in his bed of hay. When she asked him what was wrong he responded by saying, “We didn’t do enough to give Him a nice, soft place to lay His head. We need to do better next year. We can do better guys.”
- One woman found a way to have a more Christ-centered version of the Twelve Days of Christmas for her family. Each night they would read a part of narrative of the birth of Christ from Luke in the Bible, and along with the reading set out one piece of their nativity. By the time Christmas arrived they had finished the story, and the entire nativity scene was displayed, ending with baby Jesus.
- This last one is simple, and yet so powerful. One woman told of how she had looked up all the names that Jesus Christ has ever been known by or called. Then she printed them out on old paper and hung them all over her tree along with olive wood ornaments that she collected on a trip she had taken to Jerusalem. She said she loves to gaze at the tree with all the pretty lights, His names and her special ornaments, and feel the peace as she is reminded amidst all the hustle and bustle of the season, of Him and His light and what the season of Christmas truly represents.
God bless you and yours this Christmas season. May you fill your homes and your hearts with His peace and share the light and love of Christ with all who surround you.
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