The time of year characterised by spending, over-indulging, giving and jollification. Who doesn’t like the festive season? It is so much fun to decorate your tree and house and garden and spend hours and hours looking for the perfect gift, cooking the perfect meal and hosting the perfect parties. We get so caught up in the glitz and glamour, with all the pressure to have the best Christmas that we sometimes forget the real reason for celebrating this holiday. We forget that we have to keep Christ in Christmas.
The one and only way to make sure Christ is part of your Christmas celebrations? Make sure He is present in your everyday life.
If He is central to your daily life, it will be easy, almost second nature, to reveal and celebrate the character, love and grace of Christ, which is the actual reason for Christmas – to celebrate the birth of Jesus, who later made the biggest sacrifice on the cross, where He died for our sins so that we can be saved.
By keeping Christ in Christmas you will raise kids who understand the true meaning of Christmas, so for their sake as well as the world (who watches what us “so-called Christians” do with hawk’s eyes) here are some ideas how to keep Christ in Christmas:
1. Give God a special gift
God asks us to devote our lives to Him, for He has already given us the world. So what will you give Him in return? Maybe your gift can be time – time spent with a loved one who needs it, or forgiveness, or devotional time. For your kids, encourage them to maybe share their favourite toy, or play with that child at school who nobody likes. Anything that needs a bit of sacrifice on your part. And keep it secret, it is between you and God. A nice idea I got when I did the research for this post was to do a white stocking (see my post on creating new Christmas traditions as a single-parent family). Basically you put up a white stocking (or any other colour, just as long as you designate it as “the white stocking”) in front of the stockings for the rest of the family, and then throughout the Christmas period whenever someone does something special for someone else or feels grateful for something they write it down (anonymously) and put it in the stocking. All the cards are then read out loud on Christmas Eve as part of the gift-giving ritual.
2. Go carolling
It is not the activity that is Christian, but rather again the sacrifice. Giving up your time to brighten someone else’s day, spreading the joy and cheer. Also, learning all of those lyrics about the birth of our Saviour doesn’t hurt. Also, play Christmas music in your house, but be sure to include spiritual songs as well as commercial ones.
3. Make your own Christmas cards instead of sending commercial ones
Find a few scriptures that you love, and that speaks to you (preferably on the birth of Christ) and use them either as décor on the front of your DIY’d cards or as part of the message inside. Personalise each card with a special verse for the special person.
A few ideas:
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
4. Make time to read the Christmas story, Luke 1:5-56 to 2:1-20
This should be a tradition in every household. To read the story straight from the Bible is beautiful, and a great way of showing the kids how we can marry scripture with living our lives. I have made a countdown calendar for the kids to follow along on (so they stop pestering me about how many sleeps are left till Christmas Eve – one of the reasons of course) and with that, there is a piece of scripture for every day of the advent period. Because my kids are very young, and some of the scriptures very long, I have also made cute memory verse cards that they get to move along the trail every day. If you want your own set, get the free printable at the bottom of the post.
5. Set up a Nativity scene in your home.
A great way to visually ensure Christ is kept at the centre of Christmas. If you need to keep the kids busy in the run-up to Christmas you can get them to make their own nativity scene. Here is a whole Pinterest board filled with free patterns and other ideas.
For ideas, see my Pinterest board here
6. Give a surprise gift of service to each member of your family.
Giving the gift of time is more precious than almost any other gift. Spoil your family with your time, by doing something special for each of them. This can be anything from unpacking the dishwasher when it is your sister’s turn to washing Mom’s car. For small kids, allow them to help you water the garden or “make” coffee. It must be heartfelt, special, and out of the ordinary. You can also incorporate charity work under this idea. Encourage your kids to select a few toys or clothes that are still in good shape, but which they no longer use, then donate these to a children’s charity or welfare organisation. Our family extend further than blood, and this is a time of goodwill for all men.
7. Go to church.
Spend Christmas morning celebrating with God’s family. Afterwards, spend quality time with your own family. There is blessing in community.
How will we worship Him this season? Endlessly shopping? Hustling about and adorning our homes? Will that be our tribute to our Savior? Or will we bring peace to troubled hearts, goodwill to those in need of higher purpose, glory to God in our willingness to do his bidding? Jesus put it simply, ‘Come and follow me.
— Elder Ronald A. Rasband
And if this is your first Christmas as a single mama, then maybe it is time to make up your own new traditions. For a few ideas, see my post here
No matter how you celebrate Christmas, I hope you all will smile a little more, be a little more generous, and spend time with your family! Enjoy the festive season.