Luke 1 and 2 in the New Testament of the Bible tell what happened around the Birth of Christ in some detail with additional passages, well…, throughout the Bible but especially in Isaiah 9 and Matthew 1+2.
I love the wonder and awe of Christmas. The lights, decorations, and trees all add to this. Our family doesn’t do Santa Claus as we don’t think he has anything to add to the real story of the Gift-giver, who was motivated by immense love for us. And we don’t have to be good for us to receive His (God’s) gifts.
St Nicholas (December 6), a bishop from Myrna, Turkey, is celebrated for his generous gifts hundreds of years ago. This brings the focus for the season to giving and not getting.
This year our family hid little and homemade gifts on night of Dec 5th in each other’s shoes, surreptitiously. Bookmarks, letters, chocolate coins, small homemade photo books. I received a hand crafted paper jet plane from my 8yo boy – and a wrapped up car (one of his favourites)! What a blessing!
http://www.squidoo.com/OnlineChristmasParty – scroll nearly halfway down to : crafts, food, gifts, traditions
http://www.lulu.com/items/volume_62/1607000/1607938/2/print/1607938.pdf – 18 pages, for a lapbook
Advent – Calendars
http://www.bisous.biz/scrap/scrap_ideas/advent_photo_instructions.html – Melyssa Connolly, or
http://www.crivoice.org/jesse.html – story, making of, scriptures
Volunteers “Jesus Helpers”
What can your family do?
wider family – whanau, neighbours, “orphans and widows” in your community of faith.
Habitat for Humanity, Prison Fellowship – Angel Tree, Compassion/Samaritan’s Purse Christmas boxes, local faith-based Op Shop.
Sanity in the Celebration
1. Aim for Sanity
Remind yourself of this aim each day as Christmas approaches. Deliberately choose not to try to outdo anyone else. Focus on what is important for you and your family this season.
2. Put People First
Visit, phone, or write to “old” friends. Remember the singles and solos – check they are not alone this Christmas. Make room for what lasts. Trees, decorations, wrapping paper, and parties are just the accessories (sometimes the excess-ories) of the season.
3. Break Bad Habits
Take time to examine your Christmas traditions. If they’re no longer sensible or relevant, lay them aside. Talk this over with your family and create new more meaningful family traditions.
4. Make Room for Fun
In the midst of the pressured and commercialised Christ-mas, make sure there is room for fun. Set aside a day for cooking with the children. Allow the presents to be not-so-perfectly wrapped by not-so-coordinated fingers. Have folks over for a picnic, barbecue, or an evening. Relax – and laugh!
5. Shop – then Stop!
Well before December, make a gift list, set a completion date, and a cost limit for each person. Shop leisurely in stages and record purchases. When you reach your goals – STOP!
6. Ponder the Point
Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Keep this central in all activities. Jesus, God’s only son, came to earth to serve and to save. This is the reason for the season. Let us celebrate God’s goodness to us this Christmas.