In today’s world, it is so easy to miss out on the true meaning of Christmas. There are constant reminders that Christmas is coming… Pretty trees, lights, decorations, sales, toys, Santa, stocking, etc. In some countries the true meaning of Christmas is completely missed because they only see the “trappings” from America. I found myself getting caught up in the same commercialization. Now there are several ways that we try to keep Jesus the focus of our Christmas Season. We don’t do every one every year, but they are all great! Pick and choose what you think will help your family remember Jesus this Christmas!
6 great ways to think about Jesus this holiday season:
- Use a Jesse Tree – A Jesse Tree is a fantastic way to focus on the Biblical reason we celebrate Christmas. There are so many ideas and templates and books out there. Here are a couple of my favorites.
- Use an Advent Calendar – Advent Calendars come in all shapes and sizes. We have a wooden one that has little doors. Every year I fill the doors with little figures from the Christmas story and candy. Each night in December someone opens a door and tells that part of the story. My kids always look forward to this. Now they even have Lego Advent Calendars! (Click on the pictures below to check out some of my favorite calendars.)
- Choose something special to give to every year – One of my most memorable Christmases was when my family gave a Christmas party to a local orphanage instead of buying each other gifts. Get an angel gift from a local Angel Tree. Choose a family who is having a tough time and bless them with a Christmas Dinner. Another idea my grandmother had one year was to donate something in a family member’s name. On Christmas that year we each got a card stating what she had donated in our name. I got a card saying that a family in Africa got a new goat. My brother got a card that said that she had bought soccer balls for boys in South America. It was very special. World Vision International has a great program for this. You can also access a guide on how to give to those in need by clicking here.
- Do Advent as a family – Every year our family does Advent devotions using an Advent Wreath and candles. This is my favorite part of our Christmas Holiday season. Each Sunday starting four weeks before Christmas we light a candle on our wreath. Each candle has a special meaning and we read the part of the Christmas story that goes with the candle and sing Christmas Carols. On Christmas Eve we have an Advent Dinner where we invite friends and do the entire Advent Wreath together and enjoy a special meal. This year I will be doing an Advent series that will include a family advent time each week. Keep your eyes open for it! If you would like to prepare by getting your own special wreath, click on some of the ones below. They come in all shapes and sizes!
There can be 4-candle wreaths and 5-candle wreaths. My family likes the 5 candle wreaths so that we can light the “Jesus Candle” on Christmas Eve. We only light candles once a week on Sunday, but many people do an Advent devotion every night of Advent. Even if we do this, I don’t usually light the candle, so that they won’t be used up so quickly! Below are some of our favorite books for Advent.
- Decorate! – Use your Christmas decorations to celebrate Jesus! Not surprisingly, most of my decorations use the word “JOY” since everyone likes giving gifts with my name on it! Last year my daughter and I counted the Joy decorations while we put them up. we had 81 different “JOYs” in my living room! Use manger scenes and items that share about Jesus, not just Santa and snowmen. One year my husband surprised me with a couple of pieces from the Willow Tree Nativity. Every year for YEARS he would buy me one or 2 more pieces. It was a wonderful tradition and it is my most favorite Christmas decoration. You can buy the whole set, or just buy the pieces you like a little at a time like I did.