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November 20, 2013 / BTM

Ideas for Keeping Christ Central on Christmas Day

jesus stockingI’m sure it feels way too early to think about Christmas Day, but I wanted to share some ideas I’ve received about how Christian families can keep Christ central to their Christmas Day celebrations!

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Make the first present you unwrap the figurine of Baby Jesus from your nativity set.  Have him wrapped in your fanciest paper and placed under the tree with a tag that says: To: [the names of your family members] Love: God.  Remind your children that Jesus is the ultimate gift on Christmas.

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Read the Christmas account in the Bible as one of your first activities.  Thank God together for the gift of Jesus and ask Him to help you remember that today is all about Him.  You could add singing Christmas carols as part of your worship.

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Have a stocking for Jesus.  On Christmas Eve, have everyone carefully think about what they  would like to give to Jesus this year.  This could be anything from reading the Bible more frequently or more diligently, to memorizing scripture, or obeying your parents, or trying hard to control a temper, or making sure to tithe, or committing to being more purposeful in training up your children, or looking for service opportunities, etc.  Have everyone write their ideas down on a piece of paper and slip them into Jesus’ stocking.  Open Jesus’ stocking Christmas Day and keep your commitment cards somewhere visible for several weeks after Christmas – and review them often.  Then, store the cards in the stockings until next Christmas to evaluate how well you did.  (I have to credit Focus on the Family for this idea, but I do not recall the source it came from.)

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cupcakeCelebrate Jesus’ birthday with a party.  Explain to your children that Jesus’ birthday is the best birthday ever and that’s why we have such a big party for Him.   You could either make special birthday cupcakes that become part of your Christmas dessert (and have your kids help to make them) or cheat and use your Christmas morning muffins as Jesus’ ‘cake’.  Either way, light birthday candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas Day.

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Give ‘Wise Men’ gifts instead of stockings.  Stockings are often (although not always) associated with Santa.  To start your morning focused on the Biblical account of Christmas, replace stocking gifts with three wise men gifts.  There are many fun ways to do this.   You could hide the wise men gifts and give clues (three gifts and three clues per child), each leading to the hidden gold, frankincense, and myrrh gifts.   The gold gift could be gold covered chocolate money, or could be wrapped in gold gift paper.  You could make the gold gift something extravagant, like the original gold gift was.  The frankincense gift could be something that grows their faith and wrapped in paper that relates to the original Christmas account (stars, doves, etc.).  The myrrh gift could be something practical, wrapped in brown paper.   Focusing on these three gifts minimizes expectations on Christmas morning, and provides a practical way to focus on the original meaning of Christmas first thing Christmas Day.

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present stackTry to limit gifts and push back Christmas commercialism.  Not that I’m trying to resemble a certain furry green beast that goes by the name of Grinch …  but we all know that commercialism will drown Christ out of Christmas if we don’t fight back.  It’s something we all have to watch out for – we’re being targeting by marketing more forcefully at Christmas than at any other time of the year.  This is a hard one, particularly when extended family does not cooperate, or our kids devour the Christmas Wish books before we can eradicate them from our homes!  We make sure to communicate with family our request to limit spending and gift giving.  We’ve also limited our own spending.  It’s worked, but it took some time.  If you feel you’ve maybe gone over the top with Christmas spending, try to scale back a bit this year.  Consider spending that money on a poorer or persecuted Christian instead (see Keeping Christ in Christmas for ideas).  Even a small scale back, year after year, will help the focus of the day move away from the ‘flesh’ and on to Christ.

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Merry CHRISTmas everyone!  If you have other ideas, please share them with me.  I’d love to know which of these you tried and how it worked as well!

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