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Getting Ready for Christmas



This weekend has been busy for our household. Thursday I put up the outdoor lights and on Saturday, the girls put up the tree. We’ve started our shopping and are working on the calendar to make sure we get to all of the appropriate places in a timely fashion. My favorite paradox of the season is the paradox of time. If you asked my kids how much longer it is until Christmas, they might say something like, “a million years.” If you ask me or my wife, we’d say something like, “we just had Christmas, didn’t we??” It’ll be here before you know it.

Since most of us sense that Christmas is coming like an oncoming train, let me give you some suggestions that will help keep the real reason for the season in sharp focus.

1. Put a nativity under the tree. For most of western civilization Christmas represents gifts under the tree. When we love someone we put our gifts under the tree. When God loved us, he put his gift on the tree (the cross). Placing a nativity under the tree is a tangible reminder of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

2. Help the poor. For some time our family has made it a practice to help provide Christmas for a needy family. In years past we’ve even adopted an entire family. We took our children shopping for the family and along to deliver the presents. By helping the poor during the holdiays we’re reminded that the greatest blessing of Christmas is not in receiving but in giving. Even in a tough economic year its important to remember that if you make $10,000 per year you out earn 84% of the world’s population!

3. Serve others. Check your community calendar to find where you can serve others during the holidays. Helping out with serving a meal at a homeless shelter or carolling at a nursing home are two simple ways to serve others. If your community has a Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, sign up to ring the bell. There are ample opportunities to serve during Christmas. Get involved!

4. Listen to Christmas music. Perhaps the most timeless music in America is found in Christmas carols. Christmas music, old and new, adds a special touch to the season.

5. Read the Christmas story from the Bible. One of the traditions that my wife brought to our marriage was the custom of reading the Christmas story before we open gifts. There’s something special about reading the Christmas narrative with your family and then joining in a time of prayer. When our children were younger, we’d have them role play the story with the figurines from the nativity display.

6. Worship together. I used to say that Christmas was for children. Now I say that Christmas is for the children of God. I believe that Christmas is a celebration that belongs to the church. If anyone should enjoy the holiday, it should be the people of God. There is a multiplied joy that comes when believers come together for worship during the holidays. Make it a priority to worship together with your family. If your church doesn’t have a Christmas Eve service, find one in your community and participate.

Categories : Advent, Christmas

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