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Roger J Carlson
12-07-2006, 05:43 PM
I've been a little lax on asking questions to stimulate discussion, and it occurred to me that this time of year is perfect for evaluating our relationship to Christ, starting with the celebration of His birth.

So the question is, what (if anything) are you doing to keep Christ in Christmas around your home?

askeladd
12-08-2006, 04:10 AM
Our kids are on the young side (5 and 1), so we review the Christmas story a lot. The nice thing is that the 5 yo is at the stage where she asks a lot of questions - they're not always the easiest to answer, but it provides abundant opportunities for discussion ;) .

WildScribe
12-08-2006, 04:11 AM
My parents always took us to church on Christmas, but the "holiday Christians" sent the wrong message to us, I think.

BruceJ
12-08-2006, 07:37 AM
We've done a birthday cake for Jesus on some years when our kids were young. That was fun and something they could sink their teeth into...so to speak.

Roger J Carlson
12-08-2006, 06:26 PM
I can't say that we do anything dramatic. Growing up, the Nativity was always a central theme. My folks never played up the Santa Claus angle (although they went along with it). We never had pictures of Santa, but always had plenty of angel figurines and such. It was always a Big Deal to set up the nativity scene and we always went to church for the Sunday School program.

We never went to Christmas Eve service when I was a kid because Christmas Eve was spent at my grandparent's house with about 75 relatives. But when it came time to have Christmas Eve at my parent's, we moved it to Chrismas Eve Eve (night before Christmas Eve), so everyone can attend Christmas Eve services.

A tradition we started with our daughter was to read the Christmas story from Luke on Christmas morning. We also always watch a Charlie Brown Christmas, because it is the ONLY Christmas special that speaks about the true meaning of Christmas.

Linus: "Lights, please...

...For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And suddenly, there was with the angels a multitude of heavenly host saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will towards men.

And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Pat~
12-09-2006, 02:08 AM
Keeping Christ in Christmas is not so much about outward ritual as it is a matter of the heart...but that said, we do have some traditions around our house with that goal in mind. I've traveled extensively, and have nativity sets from around the world which I enjoy displaying during the season (though the Africa one stays up year round). Focusing on these during quiet moments throughout the day helps me remember what it's all about. We also attend a late night Christmas Eve service at our church, though this is not the only time our kids hear the Christmas story during the season. When the kids were small we often did a birthday cake for Jesus with their cousins and friends. And, passing along a family tradition, I like to play Handel's Messiah on Christmas Day along with the more familiar carols. It's also been fun to 'adopt' a family anonymously, as a way of keeping God's love as our focus. We had alot of fun dressing up as secret santas one year and delivering a money tree to a family that desperately needed it; another year it was a turkey dinner to a family living in a motel that had lost everything in a housefire.

BruceJ
12-09-2006, 02:26 AM
Uh, yeah...we do all that, too...and a birthday cake. (:D )

Actually, a Christmas Eve candlelight service was a tradition when I was growing up. We always came back to the house for Christmas carols around the tree, cheese, crackers and Trail bologne (really!). Luke 2 was an ever-present part.

In Germany we had an exchange with a German family where we'd trade hosting holidays. That was neat to see the cultural nuances. In England, wassail, of course, was a necessity. In Greece they hold Easter as a greater celebration than Christmas (some wisdom in that, perhaps), so Christmas was a quieter time.

This really takes me back. Thanks for asking, Roger.

mooncars
12-09-2006, 07:38 AM
Linus: "Lights, please...

...For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And suddenly, there was with the angels a multitude of heavenly host saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will towards men.

And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Hallelujah! Praise the Precious Lamb Of God who forgave me of my sins and set my feet on a solid Rock. I was stuck in the miry clay of trespasses and sins. He saved me. I was dead in sin. His Grace was bestowed upon me! He washed me whiter than snow! Hallelujah! Praise His Holy Name!

My soul shouts everytime I see Linus preaching the Gospel! Glory be to God!

Jesus lives!
Rick

Unique
12-09-2006, 08:02 AM
The best Christmas I ever had was me, myself, and I. I made a list of all my friends and family and took my list and my Bible to a State park in town.

I walked around and enjoyed the blooming camellias and I prayed for each and every one on that list. Then I went home and had Christmas dinner with my cat.

Nowadays - it's just hard. The way I want it to be and the way it is don't mesh.

I could use ya'll's prayers in how to teach my son about the gift of Christ's sacrifice for us. Getting is groovy but it's much more fun to give. He doesn't get that. And that hurts me. A lot.

SherryTex
12-09-2006, 08:39 AM
We make a list of all the friends we want to celebrate at Christmas and make luminary packages for each of their families and drive around each weekend to make deliveries --it is the kids Christmas present to their friends and we get to visit and spread cheer and light them for the Christ Child's family, it cost no more than a ten pound bag of sand, a box of matches, a bag of tea lights and a package of paper lunch bags. The kids make them and we have great fun making the trek out to deliver.

mooncars
12-09-2006, 08:58 AM
I could use ya'll's prayers in how to teach my son about the gift of Christ's sacrifice for us. Getting is groovy but it's much more fun to give. He doesn't get that. And that hurts me. A lot.

Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Many blessings,
Rick

Sean D. Schaffer
12-09-2006, 09:25 PM
I remember a story about the Christmas Tree, that I like to think about when I set one up in my home.

Basically, it goes like this:

1.) The star on top of the tree represents the star over the Manger.

2.) The tree represents the Cross on which Jesus died.

3.) The ornaments on the tree represent the glory of the One Who died upon the Cross.

4.) The gifts underneath the tree represent the Gift of Salvation.

5.) Just like when you receive a gift, all you have to do is open it, so when you receive the Gift of Salvation, all you have to do is accept it from the One Who gave it to you.

Also, I put a nativity underneath my tree. I realize it's not much, but like others have pointed out, keeping Christ in Christmas is a matter of the heart more than anything else.

Robin Bayne
12-10-2006, 12:51 AM
We do the huge nativity scene on the mantel, and most of our decorations are obviously Christ-ian.

Something new I've added over the past few years is to pick a pack of flavored candy canes (different flavor each year) and put one on each dinner plate (I always host Christmas dinner), hook side up like the letter J.

The kids now all know that the "J" is for Jesus.

Pat~
12-12-2006, 07:42 PM
The best Christmas I ever had was me, myself, and I. I made a list of all my friends and family and took my list and my Bible to a State park in town.

I walked around and enjoyed the blooming camellias and I prayed for each and every one on that list. Then I went home and had Christmas dinner with my cat.

I think that's one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard concerning how to give to others for Christmas.



Nowadays - it's just hard. The way I want it to be and the way it is don't mesh.

I could use ya'll's prayers in how to teach my son about the gift of Christ's sacrifice for us. Getting is groovy but it's much more fun to give. He doesn't get that. And that hurts me. A lot.

You have my prayers.

IrishScribbler
12-12-2006, 08:32 PM
At my house we have a nativity scene every year, and Mom doesn't add Jesus until Christmas Day.

I also like to go to Christmas services. I love the atmosphere at Christmas, the peacefulness of the church, and (of course) the music! It's a great way to take some time from the hectic season and sort of recharge and refocus.

ThinkOnItDevotions
12-16-2006, 02:37 AM
Thanks, Ian - I had not heard that before. I think I'll use it on my christmas cards!

farfromfearless
12-19-2006, 03:20 AM
Jesus is the Rizzle for the Sizzle, yo!

awatkins
12-19-2006, 03:27 AM
One of the things I always did with my daughter when she was little was to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas day. She does that with her own little ones now.

Little Red Barn
12-19-2006, 05:21 AM
The preetiest stocking on our mantle takes center stage and is placed there ever year for Christ.

BruceJ
12-19-2006, 10:13 PM
One of the things I always did with my daughter when she was little was to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas day. She does that with her own little ones now.

That's great! We did the same around our birthday cake. No candles--didn't want to get too mystical. :)

There's a song my choir and children's choir used to do together called Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus. Anybody heard/remember that one?

Roger J Carlson
12-19-2006, 10:17 PM
That's great! We did the same around our birthday cake. No candles--didn't want to get too mystical.Not to mention that 2000 candles would be a serious fire hazard.

BruceJ
12-20-2006, 05:18 PM
Not to mention that 2000 candles would be a serious fire hazard.

Right. I have the joy of sending my one-year-older sister a lovingly scathing birthday card every year. It's tradition. And you've just given me a great new idea...

Thanks, Roger! :)

Robin Bayne
12-21-2006, 09:15 PM
Right. I have the joy of sending my one-year-older sister a lovingly scathing birthday card every year. It's tradition. And you've just given me a great new idea...

Thanks, Roger! :)


Older sister here, shaking head at you. :tongue

BruceJ
12-21-2006, 10:56 PM
Older sister here, shaking head at you. :tongue

This is freaky. My sister's name is Robin...

Robin...? :e2thud:

Ralyks
12-22-2006, 05:26 AM
My daughter is 3. She is having a hard time distinguishing between Jesus and Santa Claus at the moment. The fact that her own birthday is so close to Christmas does not help the confusion about birthdays any. We are doing what we can to explain things, but I admit to some nervousness. My husband assures me she is processing more than I realize, that it's nothing to worry about, and that because we do not treat Jesus the same way we treat Santa or the Tooth Fairy or her imaginary friend, all will be well and all manner of things will be well.

She likes to sing Happy Birthday, Jesus (I believe she learned to do that in preschool), but until she understands better who Jesus is, I feel anything like making a Jesus birthday cake would border too much on make believe. Once she knows who He is more, that would be a good symbolic thing to do, and I look forward to it. Right now, her favorite thing is the advent calendar. We turn over one picture a day--and I can tell her the story as we do so--there are camels, kings, shepherds, etc. underneath, and on the 25th is, of course, a picture of the baby Jesus. Of course, she keeps saying, "Jesus is going to come on Christmas? Jesus is going to come to our house!"

BruceJ
12-22-2006, 04:29 PM
... I feel anything like making a Jesus birthday cake would border too much on make believe. Once she knows who He is more, that would be a good symbolic thing to do, and I look forward to it.
Agreed, Sky. Everything in its time. Our kids were older before we started that tradition and already had a good grasp on the concept. We did it to normalize the thought that, in its essence, Christmas is Christ's birthday celebration. We made birthday cakes for each other in the family because we're real, live people. Jesus is a real, live person, too, and it illustrated that fact by association.

Not to hijack the thread (and I can start a new one if everybody prefers), but Sky makes a good reference to the issue of where Santa Claus fits into a Christian Christmas. A lot of Christians take a hard line on disclaiming St. Nicholas (at least in his present popular form) as a corruption of the 'true meaning' of Christmas. Others have no problem including him. What do you all do? How have you been able to separate the fiction from the fact with your kids (or how your parents did with you)? Can there be truly peaceful coexistence between the Incarnate Christ and Santa Claus?

I'll take my answers off the air...

Roger J Carlson
12-22-2006, 05:37 PM
I have a clear memory of praying to Santa once as a child. I got over it. :)

AzBobby
01-01-2007, 01:16 PM
My kids love getting gifts as much as any kids do. They also love giving gifts when they can; that too is something I believe most kids find fun and would love to do if given the opportunity -- which either means giving them an allowance to do so, or helping them out with projects like baking batches of cookies to give away, or whatever else they can do for others.

I loved my daughter's explanation of Christmas gifts I heard from her the other day. It was something along the lines of: We give gifts to each other for Christmas because it is our only way of giving Jesus a birthday gift. How right she is, and I hope my kids always view those around them -- especially anyone in need -- as the face of God in their lives.