We live in a day when so many, like the innkeeper in Bethlehem, make no room for Jesus at Christmas.
I once read of a ROVING REPORTER WHO STOPPED PEOPLE ON THE STREET ONE DECEMBER TO ASK:
“What does Christmas mean to you?”
6 Ways to Honor the Lord in Our Christmas Celebrations
Here were the answers he received:
- Family time
- Time for children to get presents
- Time to celebrate one’s love for his fellow man and give gifts.
- Just another excuse to party
NOT ONE PERSON MENTIONED THAT IT WAS TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF JESUS.
I see FOUR GROUPS of people in our world today:
If you ever watch “Waters’ World” on the Bill OReilly show, you will know how clueless many are today about the reason we celebrate certain holidays. It is no wonder, however, that so many are clueless about Christmas. When I taught school in Memphis over 50 years ago, we had Christmas programs every year for the entire school. There was always a Christmas party in our homeroom, with Christmas carols playing loud and clear.
Today, Jesus and Christmas have been removed from our public school system. Not only is the name of Jesus not to be mentioned; now, Christmas Holidays are called “Winter Break.” What a sad commentary on our society.
Many today, although not clueless about the meaning of Christmas, are so consumed with shopping, cooking, and decorating, they don’t make room for Jesus in their celebrations—especially at home and at work. Oh yes, they may take their families to a Christmas Eve service or Christmas program at their church. But if you visit their homes, you will see very little, if any evidence that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”
So many different messages are being sent to us today, that many children and teenagers are confused about the real meaning of Christmas. When you are not allowed to celebrate in the schools or in the public square, when there is so much propaganda out there to discourage you from honoring Jesus at Christmas, it is no wonder there is confusion among so many.
A little girl drew a Christmas picture at school and brought it home to show her mother. It was a picture of an airplane with some people sitting in it. Her mother tried to show excitement about it but was very curious as to what it was being depicted. She told her daughter that it was a very interesting picture, but she wanted her to explain what it meant.
The little girl was rather exasperated, but sighed and said, “Mother, that man in the front seat of the plane is Pontius the Pilot.”
Her mother smiled and then asked about the big man in the back of the plane seated by Mary and Joseph.
Her little girl answered excitedly, “That’s Round John Virgin.”
Yes, there is much confusion about Christmas among our children. It is up to us to clearly present to them the truth about Christmas.
Today, there is a “War on Christmas” being waged by atheists and others who do not want to celebrate Christ’s birthday. That is where we, as Christians, must take a stand. Without Christ, there would be no Christmas. It is the message that we must teach our children and show by example to the world around us.
WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY WE HAVE: WE CAN STILL USE OUR PRIVATE PROPERTY AND OUR HOMES TO HONOR JESUS. WE CAN STILL DETERMINE TO MAKE JESUS THE FOCUS OF OUR CHRISTMAS IN 2015.
TODAY, I WANT TO GIVE YOU SOME SUGGESTIONS YOU CAN USE IN YOUR CELEBRATIONS to HONOR THE LORD.
“For unto us, a Child is born….And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
I’ve asked myself two questions which I want to ask you today:
- WHAT CAN YOU AND I DO TO EXPRESS THAT IN OUR FAMILIES JESUS IS MORE THAN A BABY IN A MANGER—MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN SANTA CLAUS?
- HOW CAN WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN WAYS THAT REVEAL WE BELIEVE “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON?”
6 Suggestions on How You Can Let Others Know About Jesus This Year:
1} Use Your Outdoor Decorations
When I first heard about rulings against nativity scenes in town squares, children no longer getting to sing Christmas carols in school, and the Christmas Holidays being changed to Winter Break, it dawned on me that I could still use my private property to honor Jesus at Christmas!
- Christmas Cards for the Yard. We had a sign company paint a beautiful scene of the Holy Land with these words in large letters: “Jesus—Wise Men Still Seek Him.” It is approximately 4×4 feet and has wooden boards attached to stick in the ground. We light it and display it in our front yard at Christmas.
- Lighted Empty manger with a cross behind it. My neighbor does this. It is so effective without having to say a word.
- A sign declaring: Jesus is the Reason for the Season
- Instead of flying a U of Memphis or UT or Ole Miss Banner, get a Christmas banner.
- Use Stars or Words, such as Peace, Joy, etc. to display in your front yard.
- A Manger Scene for your front yard is my favorite.
- Use a lovely Christian Christmas card from previous years, laminate it, and glue it to your wreath or put a cross in the center of your wreath.
2} Deck the Halls to Honor Jesus
- Nativity Scenes—Have two–one to look at and one for the children to touch and play with. Have small ones for child’s room.
- Villages—If you have a Christmas village, add a little card which says: “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” or whatever you wish to say.
- Christmas cards—Send cards with a Christian message. Great idea from a friend—place your Christmas cards in a basket as they arrive. Take one out each night and pray for that family.
- Trees: Jesse Tree, Jesus Tree. For years, I have had a “Jesus Tree.” It is a small tree decorated with symbols of the names of Jesus. (Lamb for Lamb of God, Crown for King of Kings, Star for Bright and Morning Star, Lily of the Valley, Rose of Sharon, Bread Dough Ornament for Bread of Life, Butterfly for Resurrected One, Candy Cane for Good Shepherd, Lights for Light of the World, etc.) Have your children come to the tree each day of December and pick out one ornament. Share its meaning with your children. (A sample Jesus Tree is pictured below.)
- Other Decorations—An open Bible with a wide red ribbon laid across it.
3} Giving to Others
“Love came down at Christmas that love might go out through us.”
THERE ARE MANY REASONS WE GIVE AT CHRISTMAS:
THE MAIN REASON WE GIVE IS BECAUSE GOD GAVE. HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON.
“And the Word of the Father became Mary’s little Son, and His love reached all the way to where I was.” From the musical “HIS LOVE REACHING”.GOD HAS GIVEN US SO MUCH, WE SHOULD WANT TO BE GREAT GIVERS! Click To Tweet
GIVERS OF OURSELVES, OUR TIME AND ENERGIES—GIVERS OF OUR LOVE—THAT OTHERS MIGHT KNOW OUR SAVIOR, TOO.
- Gift Giving
- Christmas cards
- Giving of myself, my possessions, and my time to others
- Pray about your Christmas celebration, and especially, the gifts you will buy.
Someone once gave me this quote: “Let us not follow the empty voices of the wind that would lead us astray to the roads of overspending, overdoing, and overindulging.” (Author unknown)
4} Other Ways to Impact Those Around Us
- OPENING YOUR HOME
- Birthday Party for Jesus (Use special Birthday Cake for Jesus like the one pictured below.)
- Cookie Swap for the Neighborhood
- International Party (Invite your neighbors from other countries. Have them share how they celebrate Christmas. Then share with them the true meaning of Christmas.)
- Neighborhood remembrances—homemade goodies with Christmas candy cane attached.)
- SHARE YOUR CHRISTMAS WITH OTHERS
- Invite those who are alone to join you for Christmas dinner
- Take your children and grandchildren to nursing homes and shut-ins, with flowers and small gifts.
- If someone is in hospital, take a tiny tree and some gifts.
5} Celebrate with Your Family
Jesus is alive! Let’s celebrate that fact!
- Attend a Christmas Eve program as a family.
- Invite unsaved neighbors and friends to attend your church’s Christmas program (We will always remember when some people from Canada, who were visiting our neighbors, went with us to the Singing Christmas Tree at our church. One of those Canadians was saved at that presentation.)
- Celebrate Advent (the Coming of the King)—Advent calendar, advent wreath. (See Melanie’s post.)
- Special family worship times (Devotionals on the go, for example. When you see a star, talk to your kids about the Star of Bethlehem.)
More Ways to Celebrate:
- Joy Stocking. My dear friend Fran McDaniel gave me this idea. We do this on Christmas Eve, if possible. The idea is to build up the members of your family by telling them how each has brought you the greatest joy in the past year. I bought a lovely stocking with an angel on it.
- There are two things you will want to have for each member of your family who is present:
- A note telling them how each has brought you joy this past year, with a Scripture verse for the coming year.
- An ornament or some other object that will symbolize that memory. For example, when my husband was ordained to the ministry at 72, I got him an ornament that said “Pastor” on it and wrote the date of his ordination. When my daughter had been victorious during a very stressful time, I bought a set of coasters because they are absorbent. She had absorbed so much stress. I thought they were symbolic of that time. Today there are many ornaments available which will be suitable.
- Silver Boxes. Florence Littauer wrote a book with this title. In it, she suggests that you wrap an empty gift box with silver paper and put a bow on top. It is to be given to the person in your family who has been the most grateful the past year.
6} Make the Most of Christmas Day
- Read the Christmas story (or quote it).
- Pray together as a family.
- Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, using the Jesus Birthday cake.
Celebrate Christ’s birth in a way that will be a lasting memory for all your family. Do everything you can to point to the central truth of the Christmas Story:
He was born to die that we might live.
Thank you, Mom, for such a great article about some very practical ways that we can honor the Lord in our Christmas celebrations. We really appreciate your message today. I believe many readers will be able to take and use some of these ideas.
You can visit Sarah on her Amazon Author page by linking HERE.
Sarah O. Maddox:
- Sarah O. Maddox is a Southern Belle, having lived in the South all her life.
- She was born in Kentucky, raised on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, and moved to Tennessee after college graduation. Tennessee became her permanent home.
- She and her husband of fifty-plus years have two adult children and five grandchildren. Her family loves the Smoky Mountains and the beaches of Florida.
- One of her favorite things has been the privilege of speaking at many Christian women’s events throughout the South.
- Her first two books, “A Mother’s Garden of Prayer” and “A Woman’s Garden of Prayer” (with accompanying Prayer Journals), were co-authored with Patti Webb of Nashville, Tennessee.
- She independently wrote her third book, “Five Things I Did Right and Five Things I Did Wrong in Raising our Children.” Her fourth book is a novel called, “A Beautiful Reflection.”
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© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.