Exploring the Wonder – Part 2

by Nancy Tichy, Author for Kidz at Heart Internationalnativity set

TRADITIONS help make this possible.

Traditions so often create memories.  I wonder if Mary lit a candle in Egypt for her Baby’s first birthday.  Were the Magi safely home by then and recounting what they found at their star-led destination?  A year later, did those same eager shepherds look heavenward, wishing for another angel choir concert?  And how about the innkeeper?  Did some memory tug at his heart reminding him of a missed blessing?

What if you spent a little time this year, gathering your family around the tree or crèche and sharing memories of last year’s Christmas season?  Are people missing who were with you then?  Can the kids remember any of the gifts they opened with such excitement?  What do you have to be grateful for as you think back through this past year?

A very dear friend shared some of the traditions she and her husband have woven into their family’s story over the years:

We help the children act out the Christmas story carrying pieces of our nativity scene as they speak their parts.  This has been a favorite since the eldest grand kids started doing it about 20 years ago.  We often use memorized Scripture.

Many years, our kids and grand kids make their own nativity scenes out of common household items.  Toilet paper tubes can turn into excellent characters; cereal boxes can make the stable.  We use all kinds of materials to decorate them.       

As the kids got older I let them do research projects to share.  Why do we use a wreath at Christmas?  Where did the idea of a Christmas tree come from?  Why is this holiday called “Christmas”?  What does John 3.16 have to do with Christmas?  I let them pick their own topic to answer – which was always fun.

We also formed a family choir to sing Christmas carols that tell the story of Jesus’ birth.  After singing, we’d enjoy hot chocolate and light candles and do other things festive.  This is a favorite each year.

Here’s another idea:  Challenge your family to build a manger scene from things they find around your house.  A shoe box with shredded paper can become a manger.  Toys can be the animals and even the people involved.  Some families wait to complete the scene and put the Baby Jesus in His bed on Christmas Eve.  Set those creative juices bubbling and enjoy the outcome.  I’m sure our Lord does.

Finally, how about making the shape of a cross out of cardboard and inviting your family members to paste pictures of the first Christmas story to it in collage fashion.  These might be cut out of magazines or Sunday School take home papers or hand drawn on same-sized pieces of paper. Your budding artists might draw directly onto the cardboard that has lines penciled in to designate each space.  If the cut-out cross is large enough, it could be mounted behind the manger scene.

What can I give Jesus? 

A heart full of praise

Unencumbered by traditions’ trappings

Swaddled only by the obedience of faith. (NHT)

They bowed down and worshiped Him.  Matthew 1:11

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