With Christmas on the horizon, our thoughts usually shift toward what that season means to us personally and then how to draw our children toward Christ. Perhaps a glimpse into our personal Christ-centered, family Christmas traditions might spur you to pray about what the Lord wants your family to do during these weeks.
Many years ago, we realized when one entered our home at Christmas time, the Christmas tree was the center of attention. However, we had a desire for the decorating in our house to reflect our worship of the Lord Jesus Christ and draw our hearts and our children’s hearts more closely to Him. So we replaced the Christmas tree with a beautiful, fireplace mantel arrangement with lights, a nativity, garland, and the names of God displayed. We also culled out Christmas decorations that were not Christ centered and only purchased new ones that were.
After our salvation, we eliminated Santa Claus. We didn’t want our children believing in Santa Claus only to find out later he was a lie. “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9). Plus we desired to have Christmas be all Christ!
Our family used Christmas caroling as a special way to share Christ. We carol in our neighborhood as a family, growing from Steve, me, and our eight children the first year (plus my dad and mom) to our current thirty (on a good weather caroling night) now that we have married children and grandchildren with us.
We bake a delicious poppy seed loaf (recipe at the end of the blog post) to take to each home and include a card with note and a salvation Scripture. It is our heart’s desire that all of our neighbors would come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Gifts and Lights
Our children love to give gifts. Growing up, they grouped into teams of two or three and invested time, thought, and prayer into each gift. As adults, married with families, they figured out a name drawing system for a gift exchange between siblings, cousins, and aunt/uncles to nieces/nephews. We observed our children’s greatest joy through the years was what they gave rather than what they received.
We made a tradition of an evening near Christmas to take the family out to eat and then to listen to a powerful, dramatic presentation from Back to the Bible called the Twelve Voices of Christmas. As we listened, we drove around looking at Christmas lights. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
During Christmas week, Steve would divert from wherever we were reading in Scripture at that time, to passages from the Old Testament that are prophetic of Jesus’ birth and to the chapters in the New Testament that tell the story of God becoming a man.
On Christmas Eve, we follow a Christmas program my dad and mom put together for their grandchildren and now their great grandchildren enjoy it. If you are interested in this original, homemade Christmas program, here is a link.
We had our immediate family Christmas on Christmas Eve day. This began when our children were little, and we spent Christmas Day with my parents, who were our next-door-neighbors. Now Christmas Eve day is when everyone one – my mom, adult children, and grandchildren – gather at our house from breakfast until bedtime for a day of fellowship, eating, gift exchange, and time in the Word.
May I suggest that you and your husband evaluate what is important for your family during the Christmas season and make sure that your time is invested in those priorities? Be sure Christmas is purposefully utilized to draw your children’s hearts to Jesus Christ and serving Him.
CHOOSE TO DE-STRESS
Christmas is the last time of year when you want to be a stressed woman. This Christmas season would you choose to set aside Christmas stress and pick up the joy, peace, and rest of the Savior?
Here are four resources that I recommend to help you with holiday de-stressing or any-time-of-the-year de-stressing: