How We Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas

Today I would like to share a few things that our family does to help keep the focus on the reason for the season – Jesus.  Since before we had children this has always been a big deal to us.  I mean after all the holiday wouldn’t even exist if Jesus CHRIST hadn’t been born – hence the name CHRISTmas – I mean really people it’s not a question of if you believe or not this time.  But, almost everyone celebrates Christmas right, whether they believe in Jesus or not.  Everyone likes getting giving gifts, getting together with friends and family, and the festive decorations.  How sad it is that they really don’t fully appreciate the spirit of the season.  Commercialism, materialism, all of that have all but ruined the holiday in my opinion.  But…not at our house.  “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15.

So, how do we do it? 
1)  I love Nativity sets, I have several and I like to spread them out around the house.  They are a wonderful reminder of the scene that night when Jesus was born, and a peak into how we should adore Him. 

They didn’t have these cute sets when our kids were little, but they are awesome.  Even the littlest of ones can touch and play with Baby Jesus! ๐Ÿ™‚  Fisher Price makes a great set, but there are lots of nativities sold now that are child safe – a must have in my opinion Jesus should not be off limits!!
This year my little boys were going around and comparing – “this one has two shepherds, this one has one, this one has a cow and a sheep, this one only has two sheep”.  As they got older I got braver about putting them in places where hands can reach, and yes pieces have been broken – but super glue is fabulous kinda like the healing power of our Savior… {forgive me Lord for that corny metaphor…or is it a simile??}
3)    On Christmas Eve, with several thousand other folks, we attend Christmas Eve service at our church.  Again, a good time of reflection, remembering, and rejoicing.
4)  Christmas morning is wonderful.  We do not run to the tree Christmas morning at 6am to open presents.  First, because I am not a morning person and second, because other things come first.
Christmas morning we have birthday pancakes for Jesus – complete with candle.
We all gather around the piano, in our Christmas PJ’s, and sing Christmas hymns together.  It’s extra fun now that my daughter plays violin, and the little boys are getting good enough at the piano to play a few of the songs.
Then we all sit down and read the story of Christ’s birth from the Bible.  (This pic is from a couple of years ago, but I couldn’t resist those sweet little faces that look so different now.)  In the beginning of course it was my husband who read.  I have many sweet pictures of his lap full of children intent as he read.  But now, they fight for the honor to read.  Sometimes we let them take turns, sometimes we choose one, and sometimes daddy reads.  When we are finished we pray and thank God for the most precious gift of all. 
And then….come the presents.  Again, we don’t go crazy with the gifts.  They have so much and need so little nothing {thank you Lord}.  We buy each child one gift, and they draw names amongst themselves.  So everyone gets two gifts.  Obviously they get more from grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles, and again they need nothing.  Another thing is we take our time.  Each person opens one gift at a time, it is not a free for all where everyone is opening at the same time – that makes me crazy!! 
5)  Later after dinner we have “Happy Birthday Jesus” birthday cake.
Let me say we are by no means experts, but we are pleased with the spirit that is in this home at Christmas time.  Each year we may add one or two more elements because in my heart we can never do enough to honor the birth of Our Savior.
This year I spotted something for Advent on Pinterest that I fell in love with and put my own spin on it a bit.  This was the inspiration
source
And here is ours.
I asked my husband to make his own list of 25 names of Jesus and he did – in about 2 or 3 minutes I might add, love – then I used this web page to find corresponding scripture references.  It was November 30th and I didn’t have time to craft cute ornaments with the kids, so I just took some extra ornaments I bought and with a gold paint pen and a black sharpie I went to work.  I wrote the name on one side and the scripture verse on the other {because I didn’t want to have a separate sheet or something to look at to find the verse}.  Then I took some gingham ribbon from my stash and tied loops on the ornaments. 
Then I tucked a small tree next to our fireplace, wrapped the base in leftover burlap {swaddling clothes :)}, found a crown {won by hubby at a father-daughter event} for the tree topper – perfect King of Kings – and a basket to hold the ornaments.
Each night we have one of the kids choose an ornament to put on the tree.  They read the name of Jesus and then they tell us what that name means to them – which by the way is my favorite part, I love to see The Holy Spirit work in their hearts – and then we read the scripture, and hang the ornament.  Can I just say I.  LOVE.  THIS.  The kids love it too!!  So simple, but so honoring. 
We are also looking at ways to focus on giving instead of receiving.  Do you notice that as kids get older their lists may get shorter but way more pricey??  Anyway, taking my cue from several of my favorite bloggers.  One being Ann Voskamp.  Read this post to learn more. 
What are your CHRISTmas traditions??  How do you honor Jesus??

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