No, this isn’t about some gift you still need to go out and buy. It’s my gift to you – ideas that you can chose from (or totally ignore and wait for next year!) to enrich your Christmas Eve or Day celebration.
Earlier, when you read the Christmas story chronologically,(Matt.1:18-25; Luke 1:26-56; Luke 2:1-20; Luke 2:21-38; Matt. 2:1-12), you probably realized that every person who came in contact with the Christ Child worshiped Him. From angels to the aged, from herdsmen to magi, they worshiped Him. Should we who love and follow Jesus do any less?
If fantasy figures and consumerism are already firmly fixed in your family’s holiday traditions, you may have to start small this week and build for next year on your successes. Still, you can let the Holy Spirit guide you into His unique design for your family that makes worship an integral part of Christmas. Here are a few ideas to get you praying and planning.
- MEMORY CHALLENGE: As you gather and before you open gifts, take it in turn for each one to name at least one gift he received last year. Go around as often as it takes for everyone to run out of memories. Let a volunteer pray thanks to our Heavenly Father for His generosity reflected in your gifts.
- COMPASSION: You need not go into lurid details, but consider letting your family members remember in prayer children in refugee camps, children who have been kidnapped, who fall ill from a terrible virus, kids who are orphans or part of homeless families (local and far away). Good opportunity here for older kids to do research and report. Collect color photos of kids from international agency mail, cut these out and fix them to a cross made out of poster board or cardboard. Place a Christmas illustration at the center of the cross.
- CANDLES: An ADVENT WREATH may be a treasured part of the way you ‘keep Christmas’ beginning with the first Sunday of Advent. This week, before opening gifts, light the center candle and let each family member light a small, personal candle from its flame. (Choose individuals’ candles wisely considering safety issues.) Pause and let each one pray their thanks for the privilege of being Jesus’ light, naming a person or situation where they want to shine.
- DANCE/MUSIC: Play a recording of a spirited Christmas carol, provide participants with filmy scarves, and let them move to the music. (Joy to the World! or Angels We Have Heard on High might work here.) Find a hymnal and pick some familiar carols whose first verses have been memorized and sing or read the rest of the verses.
- EVERYONE TAKES A PART: Recruit younger and older to contribute ideas and follow through with what reflects your own special interests and talents.
SOME CHILDREN SEE HIM
The children in each different place will see the baby Jesus’ face like theirs
but bright with heavenly grace, and filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing, and with your heart as offering,
come worship now the infant King. It’s love was born that night. (Wihla Hutson)