How to Build a Stronger Life This past Mother’s Day, I spoke in church on…
This covid-crazy Christmas is a bit challenging, but one thing is for certain Corona Virus CANNOT Cancel the Christ-child and our worship and celebration of our Savior:
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so, it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:4-14)
Here are few PRACTICAL ideas, tools, and resources to add meaning to your Christmas season. Some traditions we have used year and after year, and others we’ve given a new spin. We pray a few of these can brighten your hearts and homes this holiday:
Center your heart on the deeper meaning of the holidays. This will help everyone become easier to get along with because the heart of the holiday will remain intact.
Hear what your friends and family are voicing as their stress and listen carefully to them—a gift that will lower their stress.
Reach out as a family to help others in order to keep the proper perspective on what is really important in life.
Invest in memories, not material goods. Make time for family baking, tree decorating, or board games.
Speak your love in words. The best gift you can give is for a person to hear their value and worth from your lips.
Take time for romance. The greatest gift you can give your children is a happy marriage.
Make time to reach out to extended family. Visit zoom or call grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
Assume nothing; ask those who are celebrating with you what their expectations are and communicate the plan clearly so people feel informed.
Stay flexible. Don’t be a Christmas boss, ordering family around. Instead slow the pace, gather consensus, and give options so that you create an environment of connecting and sharing.
(2) Christmas Game for Gift Opening– I wrote this years ago so that those not as comfortable with the more “churchy” reading of the Biblical account could enjoy a shortened and fun “right/left” passing the present game that tells the Christmas story as the family passes a gift in a circle.
(3) Connection NOT Conflict this Christmas– Both Bill and I come from families that were often chaotic and confusing in their dysfunction, so this is an article to help you have a happier, healthier holiday.
(4) Christmas Conversation Starter for Your Holiday Dinner– Based Isiah 9:6, this is our families Christmas Candle Light dinner devotional we use each year to make Christ the Center of Christmas conversation. If you are celebrating solo, turn on Handel’s Messiah, and enjoy a musical version of this beautiful scripture. Or color in Christmas joy with some bible art or scripture coloring page tranquiity.
Heart of a Child: If youngsters are part of your celebration this season, these are a few ideas:
(5) Coco and Christmas Stories: Have everyone bring coco (or create a coco bar with hot chocolate mix or coco bomb (recipes on Pinterest) You can have each person read a portion of Luke 2, or select a children’s picture book. Here are a few of my favorite Children’s Christmas books: M is for Manger , Little Star , God Gave Us Christmas
(6) Christmas Treasure Hunt: Hide gifts throughout the home and give hints to their location or say “hot/cold” depending on how near the child is to the gift.
(7) Happy Birthday Jesus: Make a cake or cupcakes with the kids, then sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and eat the treats.
(8) Christmas Pictionary: Use characters from the Biblical story/ Nativity set (Jesus, Joseph, Mary, shepherds, angels, wise men, etc) or popular Christmas characters (Santa, Rudolph, the Grinch etc)
(9) Who am I? Write a Christmas character on a nametag but place on the back of each family member, and they guess who they are by asking others Yes or No questions
(10) Love the Light: Pile kids in the car with treats (and maybe in their Christmas pjs) and roam neighborhoods with colorful lights. To add a spiritual touch, give each in the car a verse about Jesus being the light:
- John 8:12: Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
- John 12:46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
- Is 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined
- 1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
- 2 Cor 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
- John 1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
- John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
- John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(11) Ding-Dong- ditch. Pick a needy family, wrap up gifts and foods in a big box. Drive to their home, sneak the gifts to their porch, then ring doorbell and run back to car and honk horn and flash flashes to greet them from a social safe distance.
(12) Celebrate in Creation: Go on a family walk, ice skate, snowshoe, ski or snowmobile, beach, or lake walk—depending on where you live, find a beautiful spot, and take a family prayer walk. In your area, there might also be a cross you can walk or hike to. Take a picnic lunch, snack, or dessert.
Any of these can become photo ops to capture happy memories in what might feel like an unhappy (unbelievably stressful) year. Use celebration to lift the hearts and mood of your family. That is what God did the FIRST Christmas. He sent his son:
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matt 1:22-23)
Merry Christmas Week- from our family to yours.
PS: Here’s the 13th idea– a Baker’s Dozen for your family: In our newest book 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make, we (co-author PeggySueWells and I) include fun and afforadable ideas for every season. Here is a link to download “Wonderful Winter Wonderland” family fun ideas.
Pam and Bill Farrel are international leaders, Relationship experts, authors of 52 books, parents to 3 sons, 3 daughter in laws, and 5 grandkids who all love Jesus.