Merry Christmas to those of you joining us today by way of the Encouragement for Today devotion I have up on Crosswalk.com and Proverbs 31. If you haven’t read it yet, click here to do so.
And will you do this momma’s heart some good and hop back on here tomorrow and Thursday when my 18 year old daughter Mackenzie will be guest posting? She wrote two Christmas pieces on her Facebook site recently that made me bawl and I’ve asked her to let me reprint them here. I’d love for you to read them and leave her a comment if you’d be so kind. Thanks!
Four more days. Many advent calendars and Christmas countdown clocks are telling us that is exactly how many days we have left until the big event.
Our family had it own countdown calendar of sorts. Our kitchen chalkboard announced daily how many more days until Kenz came home from North Carolina for Christmas. Today it was supposed to read “2 more days”, but we pulled a little surprise on our boys.
She actually flew in last Thursday night late, spent the night with a friend and then showed up at Spencer’s rehearsal for Lansing’s Homeschool Performing Arts show Suessical the musical on Friday. He was floored! There she saw many dear friends and then, hopped in a car to later show up at Mitchell’s JV basketball game to surprise him too.
Such fun. Then, already this past weekend, we have had the Ehman Christmas and then two dear families over last night for a holiday get together. ..
Now we have, like many of you, four more days….
What can we do in these days we have left to focus on Jesus? And how can we help our kid’s catch the vision of Christmas by way of our attitudes, actions and activities? I’ll list a few ideas to get us started. You hop on and leave an idea (or a comment about an idea). I’ll be giving away a copy of our book Homespun Memories For The Heart to one person who does so. :-)
- Keep a copy of a Bible nearby where you will be spending a lot of time this week– the kitchen where you’ll be baking; the bedroom where you’ll be secretly wrapping gifts; on your office desk. Leave it open to Luke chapter 2. In the midst of your busy day and bustle of duties, stop and read a few paragraphs of the story of Jesus’ birth. Later, read some more. Re-read it often these next few days letting the magnitude of the reality of this incredible story sink in. Once, you were sentenced to spend eternity without God. Now, through the entrance of Jesus in that simple manger bed, you have a way to heaven. You can spend eternity with the God who is with us (Emmanuel). Awesome! If you simply have no idea what I mean by that, click here to read more and find out.
- Intentionally bring Christ into your conversations. Christmas is a natural time to center your conversations around Jesus. Whether it is with your family, a neighbor or the check out clerk at the store, look for open doors to, like the shepherds, tell others about Him.
- Look for the Christ Child. If you have small (or even not so small) children, help them look for Jesus. Do they see Him at the mall? Nestled in a lighted manger when you are taking a Christmas light tour? Is He on a Christmas card? Teach them that just like the Wise Men of old, we have to search for the Christ Child. Which brings us to the next idea…
- Hunt for baby Jesus. This is how we awakened our kids when they were small. Crank up a Christmas tune to signal it is time to begin. We often played the old Amy Grant song Love Has Come since it talks about waking up the little ones, the excitement of them seeing the gifts and the tree, but the real thrill being the fact that love has come for the world to know, just like the Wise Men knew such a long time ago. (Lyrics here.) Then, before the gifts can be opened and the stockings unstuffed everyone must, like those wise guys, “Hunt” for baby Jesus. He was a baby boy doll wrapped in our own version of swaddling clothes. Once he was found, we placed Him in the makeshift manger, daddy prayed and then we opened our gifts.
- Ask the “Question”. This works well for families with a little bit older children. My friend Renee from Colorado began this tradition many years ago. Her sister-in-law, my other friend Debi, adopted it in her family, going so far as to make a banner sporting the “Question” that they display each year. Here is the concept in a nutshell.
*What are your gold, frankincense and myrrh this year? Gold symbolises royalty, so which of Christ’s noble characteristics is He growing in you? (patience, faith, honesty, kindness, self-control, etc..?)
*Frankincense was burned and arose during prayer. What prayers has God specifically answered for you in 2009?
*And myrrh was a burial spice accompanying death, so what do you need to die to in 2010 in order to become more like Jesus? (getting your own way/selfishness, envy, disrespect for your husband, spiritual laziness, anger, criticism, your wayward or sharp tongue, apathy, indifference?)
It isn’t too late to do this fabulous activity this year. Gather the family in the next day or two. Have the “Question” typed out (with the explanation). Everyone can carve out some alone time to answer it and then share the answers Christmas morning, before opening gifts, while sipping on hot cocoa. We are doing so this year, however, our younger ones only have to answer one of the three parts if that is all they can come up with.
Now, your turn….what are ways you focus on Christ in the midst of the other Christmas images and activities that are oh-so-fun and fine, but that sometimes steal the show? Leave us a comment today and you might win a copy of the book, which is chock-full of ideas for celebrating with your loved ones all through the year– on holidays, at holy days and on the ‘every’days of life too–the first day of school, the first lost tooth, the kick-off of summer, when your child gets their license or own library card, etc….