Christmas is a fun, sometimes crazy season. So much to do in so little time: buy and wrap presents, plan get-togethers, clean, bake, stuff stockings. Amid all the excitement of Christmas, make time to celebrate Jesus.
Perhaps Corrie ten Boom said it best. “Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.”
This year, make Christmas simple, doable and fun. Adapt ideas to fit the ages and interests of your family.
>Get to know Jesus better.
In John 1:5, Jesus is described as the Light of the World. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.” Give out battery-powered candles or small flashlights to light the darkness during Christmas.
In John 6:25-29, Jesus describes himself as the Bread of Life. In Biblical times, people ate bread at every meal. Tie some ribbon and a gift card around a loaf of fresh bread and give to a neighbor or friend.
In John 6:28, Jesus is the Bright Morning Star. It was the first star people saw in the morning sky. Give out lighted stars or glitter stars to remember Jesus.
>Watch some Christmas videos.
My favorite is one done by Senior Pastor Jon Weece at Southland Christian Church in Lexington. Find it by searching “Christmas According to Kids Southland” at www.youtube.com.
>Make a birthday card or write a letter for Jesus’ birthday.
Put it inside a balloon filled with helium and watch it rise toward heaven or put them in a stocking made for Jesus.
>Build a nativity by learning about someone or something in the scene each day.
Gather nine paper lunch bags and a kid-friendly nativity set. Place each character or thing in a paper bag along with the Bible verse that describes their place in the Christmas story. Number and seal each bag. Let children open bags in order, take out the character and read the verse.
1. Joseph (Luke 2:4); 2. Mary (Luke 2:5); 3. shepherds (Luke 2:8); 4. sheep (Luke 2:8); 5. angels (Luke 2:9-10); 6. manger (Luke 2:12); 8. wise men (Matthew 2:1-2); 9. star (Matthew 2:10); 10. Baby Jesus (Luke 2:11).
>Make ornaments that point to Jesus.
Hobby Lobby has precut manger scenes that kids can assemble and decorate.
>Host a Journey to Bethlehem dinner.
Think about what that first Christmas may have been like. Spread a sheet or blanket and eat dinner on the floor as was the custom then. The menu could include flat bread, raw vegetables, fruit, lentils, eggs, fish, grapes, cheese and crackers, tomatoes, cucumbers.
>Show others they are loved.
Brainstorm who needs some love this Christmas: a single mom, a family member, someone who has been sick, someone who has served you, someone who is alone. Write “You are Loved” on plain paper bags and slip small gifts inside: a popcorn ball, brownies, Christmas cookies, candy or an ornament.
>Use a faith-based Advent calendar.
Many are available online. You can also use the Gospel of Luke as an Advent devotional. Read one chapter each day, leading up to Christmas. If you get a late start, choose Mark’s or John’s Gospel, continue reading after Christmas or double up on chapters for a few days to catch up.
>Teach children to look for Jesus.
Instead of Elf on the Shelf, hide the Baby Jesus each morning and let children find Him.
>Use the giving manger to help the family focus on kindness at Christmas. Buy or make a simple manger. Let children put a piece of straw in the manger when they do something kind for someone else.
>Make a Baby Jesus ornament.
You will need peg dolls (any size), white fabric big enough to swaddle the doll, twine, ribbon, wire, glittery stars, grassy fiber and glue. Directions: Form your fiber straw into a little nest, swaddle your peg doll like a real baby and place it in the nest and tie with a piece of twine. Glue the wire in place to hang the little nest. Attach stars. Let children give away to family and friends.
>Read Christmas books that focus on Jesus.
“The Crippled Lamb” by Max Lucado; “Humphrey’s First Christmas” by Carol Heyer, “The Pine Tree Parable” by Liz Curtis Higgs; “The Legend of the Christmas Tree” by Rick Osborne; “Room for a Little One” by Martin Waddell; “The Little Shepherd’s Christmas” by Carol Heyer; “Itsy Bitsy Christmas” by Max Lucado; “A Heavenly Conversation One Night Before Christmas” by Jennifer Heck.
>Make Christmas nail ornaments for your tree and to give away.
You will need 12-inch landscaping nails and some red ribbon to tie onto each nail. Keep a basket of Christmas nails at each door in your house.
When people stop by this season, you can give them the Christmas nails as a present—a reminder that Jesus came to save us from our sins.