Nov 22, 2010

How Are You Keeping Christ In Christmas?

It saddens me just how much Christmas has become about presents and all things material. Every fiber of my being desires to keep Christ at the center of our family's Christmas. After all, that is what Christmas is all about, the one most precious gift that is the exact opposite of material. The birth of our Savior who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could have the ultimate gift...unconditional love, grace, forgiveness, eternal life. That gift will not break, will not go out of style, and will never be outgrown.

If you want ONE great way to keep Christ at the center of your Christmas I suggest ADVENT.

Advent means "coming". For the entire month leading up to Christmas you prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth, His first coming. There is a spirit of anticipation, excitement and longing.

Here is what we plan to do to make it toddler friendly: Each night we're going to light the appropriate candle, read a small snippet out of this family advent book my mom got us, and open one window on the advent calendar.

(PS: Thanks to some routine we've put in place after reading Toddlerwise and having our family doctor encourage us to do family devotions, we now have have a two year old that says "Voshon Time!" with joy after each meal, prays and generally listents quite well while we do the daily bread each night)

Here are some other things we plan to do to keep Christ at the center of our Christmas:

  • Sheild ourselves from commercialism by keeping the TV off and recycling store flyers and catalogues as soon as they come.
  • Continually talk about the true meaning of Christmas...for Christmas is Jesus' Birthday and make Him a birthday cake!
  • Put out all of our manger scenes but keep the baby Jesus' out of them. On Christmas morning make a big deal over "Baby Jesus was born today!!!" and go put all the baby Jesus' into their manger scenes to symbolize this.
This is the first year that I've been coming up with ideas to keep Christ in Christmas tailored to a toddler because last year Ella was too young to understand. However, this year she is SO aware and we're loving it and being intentional from the very beginning. I want many, many more ideas than I already have!

So PLEASE comment and tell me the ways your family keeps Christ in Christmas!


Anonymous said...

You're so awesome, Sarah! I love this blog post and I think it is SO overlooked by our present-day, busy, over-scheduled Christian culture.
I LOVE hearing about Ella sitting for devos, b/c this is my PASSION to tell families that they CAN do this!! In hockey families kids grow up going to hockey games. They don't even think about it, it's just what "our family does". The same can be true, and SHOULD be true for family Faith Talk time.
We have several play-friendly nativities, and lots of books. We are not Santa-opposed, but we do not encourage this, do not have our pics done, or decorate w/ Santa stuff, and I have always told my kids that he's not real.
We really encourage giving, (maybe something to implement as she is older), b/c it's a picture of Christ giving to us. Next year, (we've been working up to this), we've requested that the kids not receive gifts for grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc, and we are not giving them gifts. (Although they will get a great stocking!) We're taking the money we would have used on a tree, special snacks, etc, and on Christmas we will sit down and open envelopes of money or money amounts, and make choices of how to spend it, (donate it), for Samaritan's Purse. They know abou this, we've already done something similar w/ birthdays, and we are looking forward to it.
I think you have to be REALLY intentional to not get swept up in the commercialism and busy-ness. Talk continually about the True Meaning while you sit down, while you walk along the way, when you get up and when you get down...

Wendy Smith said...

oops -from Wendy. I didn't mean to be anonymous!!!

Cheryl said...

I'm so glad you posted about Advent, getting ready for Christ's coming! It is such a good way to keep in mind what Christmas is all about. And it is so great that Ella is learning to have family "voshuns"! I can just picture her saying that. It's so sweet.
I'm not sure I agree with keeping the baby Jesus out of the manger til Christmas, but that's your prerogative.

Anonymous said...

These are some great ideas. I do agree that we have to be purposeful. I don't have any fabulous ideas to share at the moment, but I will continue to ponder this.