We know so much surrounds Christmas, and as Christians, we try to keep our focus on Jesus. But in reality, we may get pulled into the wonderful Christmas activities and celebrate Christmas events for the sake of the holiday spirit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Christmas only comes once a year, and it should be celebrated well. But I got to thinking, how could we truly celebrate Jesus in all of our festivities? What would that look like? What might glorify Him?
I started with scripture. I’ve included activities for adults, as well as activities in which to include your children. So here are ten ideas, based on scripture, that we could pull into our Christmas festivities, to keep our focus on Jesus.
- For heaven’s sake, put up a nativity set in your house. Somewhere. Anywhere. Any size
…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:7
In all the beautiful Christmas decorations decking your walls, tables, and mantles, set up a nativity scene in a prominent place that you pass by frequently, so you may adore it each day. When you see it, you’ll be reminded of Jesus.
FOR KIDS: Fisher Price has an amazing nativity set for kids to play with. Get it if you have young children. This is ingenious! A nativity set that children can actually play with.
- Participate in a service project.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem… Matthew 2:1
The magi physically went to worship Jesus. So, it’s nice to physically get involved, and help others. A few ideas are: helping at your church Christmas activities, whatever those may be, help at a homeless shelter, Samaritans Purse, Samaritan’s Feet, or the Salvation army. Google ‘volunteering at Christmas time’ in your area, then take your pick!
WITH KIDS: Fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. (This usually occurs in Nov. so schedule it for next year). Let them donate their old clothes and toys to organizations. Help your children organize a food drive or pick out canned goods to donate. Perhaps, assist at a soup kitchen. Check your local paper for possibilities. Here is one link:Volunteer Options
- The Kings gave gifts. First, we’ll discuss giving financial gifts, if you are able.
Then they opened their treasures… Luke 2:11
It may be hard to give financially at this time of year. I totally get that. But if you are able, the need is great. Those living paycheck to paycheck may not have extra to give gifts to their children and may lean on other resources to bless their families at this time of year. We can donate to these resources and there are many. A few organizations that come to mind are the Salvation Army, The Empty Stocking Fund, Toys for Tots, St. Judes Children’s Hospital. Google what organizations are in your area. Here is a list of seven charities. Or pick up a few Walmart gift cards and randomly hand them out. This is totally a joy-filled blast!
WITH KIDS: Let them drop coins into the Salvation Army buckets. Explain how this service helps others in need. Let your kids give from their own allowance, to reap the benefit of the joy in giving.
- Give gifts from the heart.
…and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Luke 2:11
The kings gave from what they had and what they thought might bless the king (I imagine). Bake cookies or nut mixes for neighbors, make or paint ornaments for friends, go on pinterest and find a project that would bring you joy to make and have a blast making it! There is just something heart-warming about giving and receiving a home-made gift.
WITH KIDS: Let them participate in any of the above to give to their teachers, coaches, instructors, leaders. Anyone investing time in your child is worthy of receiving a homemade gift or card from your child. Take your children to the Dollar Store to buy gifts for their siblings or friends with their own money. I used to love doing this with my kids when they were young.
- Read Christmas books that focus on Jesus.
Another book was opened, which is the book of life. Revelation 20:12
The Lord is the author of life. The Bible is His story. It’s safe to say God loves books, so indulge. I love reading Christmas-focused books during the month of December. A couple that I love are Max Lucado’s Because of Bethlehem and Rick Warren’s – The Purpose of Christmas. There are many others, so pick one or several. They serve as reminders of what Christmas is truly about, and that the Lord loved us so much, he humbled Himself, and came as a baby, into this crazy world. Blows my mind.
FOR KIDS: There are many Christmas books focused on the birth of Jesus. I like the books that help your children celebrate Jesus like The Silent Noisy Night by Jill Roman Lord and One Night in Bethlehem by Jill Roman Lord (Hey, it’s my blog, I can totally promote these here.) But seriously, these books encourage children to celebrate Jesus with moos and clucks and neighs, and to find their own special ways to share the love of Jesus with others. What’s not to love about that?
- Participate in church activities.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:13,14
Sing in the choir, assist in the nursery, pick a Christmas angel off the tree to buy gifts for, participate in the children’s activities. Bake cookies for the cookie exchange. Most churches have some sort of Christmas activity. Jump in with both feet and fully enjoy these events.
WITH KIDS: Encourage them to participate in the nativity scene, if your church does this. Children should know what it feels like to be dressed up as sheep in the Christmas pageant. It’s fun! Let them imagine being there the night Jesus was born! Let them sing with the children’s choir. Whatever is going on, be there.
- Truly worship the Lord on Sundays in church and on Christmas Eve.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Matthew 2:11
If you don’t attend a church regularly, make it your goal to attend during the Christmas season. And when you go, truly worship Jesus for who He is and what He did for us, to bring us salvation. Think of all the blessings you’ve received this year, and thank God for them.
WITH KIDS: Bring them to church with you. Set up an advent wreath with the four purple candles and white in the middle, in your home. Discuss what each candle means: Hope, love, joy, peace. Here’s a nice explanation. The Meaning of Advent
- Pick an object that represents something special to you, from the year, and offer it to Jesus.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Everything we have received, truly has come from God. Nothing we have, wasn’t His first. This is an opportunity to show our appreciation and thanks to Him, and offer it back, by simply laying it at the manger, you know, the one you purchased in #1 above? We have done this on Christmas Eve and placed our gifts to Jesus, by the nativity for the night. This could be the bonus check you’ve worked hard all year to earn, an article or book you’ve had published, a picture of a pack of cigarettes that you have successfully given up, or a scarf of your recently deceased loved one.
FOR KIDS: Include your children in this. Reassure them, the gift is still theirs, but it is simply a way of offering thanks to God, for their special treasure. This could be their special blankeys, stuffed animals, video games, report cards, papers they’ve written, or pictures they’ve drawn. I wouldn’t force a child to do this if they are not ready, but perhaps they may grow into it as they see you laying down your gift.
- Enjoy being with the ones you love.
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Luke 18:16
Don’t be so busy that you neglect time with your family. Miss some parties and have family night. Play games, pop popcorn, watch Christmas movies, decorate cookies, make crafts. Read Christmas books around the tree. Truly relax and just enjoy being together.
- Grow your relationship with Jesus.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
Jesus doesn’t just want you to go through the motions of worshiping Him, He wants your heart. He wants a relationship with you. This happens by getting to know Him better. Read those books mentioned in #5 above but also read scripture. This is His love letter to you. Read the Christmas story in Luke 2 and Matthew 2. Spend quiet time with Him in the morning, thanking Him for everything you can think of. Tell Him your problems and your burdens. Pray for others you know, who need divine intervention (don’t we all?) and watch Him turn things around, like darkness into light.
WITH KIDS: Encourage your children in their relationship with Jesus, with books pointing them to Jesus. If Jesus Came to Visit Me and If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart by Jill Roman Lord are great introductions to what it looks like for them to have Jesus in their lives. Pray with them, read with them, and enjoy celebrating Jesus together, through this Christmas Season!
Enjoy celebrating Jesus and have the best Christmas ever! What other ways do you celebrate Jesus? Please let me know below!