- Holidays and Celebrations
Keeping Christ The Focus Of Christmas Tradition
Keep Christ The Focus Of Your Christmas Spirit
Where can we find true Christmas spirit?
Do you have it listening to carols or wrapping gifts for children in need? That is fantastic! Where is the origin of this spirit?
The Spirit of Christmas. . . The Spirit of Love. . . The Spirit of Truth and Hope. All Is Found In Jesus!
So, how do we keep Christ as the center focus of our Christmas? That is what I will talk about in this article.
Are we keeping the real meaning of Christmas? It has become harder to recognize the true spirit of the season in recent years. Perhaps, with all the commercialism and secularism we tend to forget what and why we are celebrating.
Continue reading for many suggestions to make your Christmas feel like "Christ"mas, and very special. Start with Advent to keep Christ in your heart this Christmas and always.
Let's try keeping the spirit all year around!
You Might Start at Your Door and Lawn With Signs Of Christ
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
An Advent Wreath - Advent Is a Season to Grow Closer to God Spirtiually
Have you ever had an Advent wreath?
It is a horizontally placed wreath that you set on a table or pedestal. The wreath has a ring that's hidden with four candle holders equally spaced and four candles. There are four Sundays in Advent preceding Christmas. A candle represents each Sunday. Three candles are purple and one is rose pink. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday of Advent known as Gaudete Sunday. A candle is lite each Sunday. Start on the first Sunday of Advent by lighting a purple candle, then on the second Sunday light the first one again plus light the second purple candle. . .By the fourth Sunday, all the candles are lit.
Advent wreaths are lit in many churches during the Advent season. Join us in attending each Sunday.
Our Advent Wreath is shown in the photo above.
Prayers to say along with the tradition of using the advent wreath can be found at the link given below.
What is Advent?
It's a season of waiting. . . the expectation of Christ's birth celebrated on Christmas. It can be a time of developing a closer relationship with the Lord, allowing God into your heart more fully. Did you know that humanity waited 700 years for the birth of the savior? So many waited with hope their whole lives. Their hope and trust was in God's word, and in prophesies passed down through generations. They longed for the Christ Savior to come.
An Advent Calendar: - A Custom That Children Love
It's fun for kids to let the excitement mount through Advent until Christmas. They love opening a new door everyday reading a small script about the story of Christmas. Ohhh, and getting a chocolate.
- Advent Wreath Prayers
Advent wreath prayers for the 4 weeks of Advent. Light a new candle each Sunday of Advent, a new prayer is said beginning each new week.
I Hope This Video Boosts Your Christmas Spirit! - You've Gotta See This!
Our Humble Creche - A Family Tradition
Display An Nativity Set In Your Home - Home Is Where The Heart Is.
Set Up A Nativity Scene
This is our family's nativity set in the photo. When my daughters were school-age, they and I prepared greenware ceramic figurines and had them fired. Painting these figurines to place in the creche was next. My children have grown up with this set. It's a good memory when I unpack the figurines again.
The three Wise Men and camels, heavy with packs, were painted, also. It was our custom to put these figurines a distance across the room until the feast of the Epiphany when we'd let them arrive at the manger. The 3 kings and camels would travel from spots around the room until reaching the baby Jesus on Epiphany (or sooner).
Children Love This Custom-St. Nick's feast Day, December 6th
On St. Nicholas' feast Day do you celebrate the following playful custom? Your children put their shoes outside their bedroom door before bed on the eve of St. Nick's Day. In the morning they find a surprise of small treats from St. Nick in their shoes. Many find gold foiled wrapped chocolates look like gold coins. This is to mimic St. Nick's generosity in helping the poor. He was a bishop in the Catholic Church in the 4th Century (with few stories about him).
It is said that St. Nick helped a family with two older daughters. The father didn't have a dowry for his daughters as they were very poor. He almost sold them off into prostitution. This bishop, whom we call Good St. Nick, supposedly threw a bag of coins through their open window one night for a dowry to prevent that from happening.
Some churches today have a celebration with St. Nick wearing his bishop miter (a tall headdress) and red bishop clothing giving a treat to the children. The Santa custom started from what was known of St. Nick handing out candy to children.
On Christmas Day Have Birthday Cake
Happy Birthday Jesus
On many Christmas Days it has been a tradition to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. This is a special thing to do with young children or grandchildren and your family at a gathering. I have made Jesus a birthday cake many years, usually very simply due to time restraints. I've decorated with frosting making poinsetta flowers, or holly leaves and berries using red and green frosting. Other times I topped the cake with a baby Jesus figurine, or small plastic Holy family (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph). Sometimes, included a candle and written "Happy birthday Jesus".
Your kids might love to decorate Jesus' cake with sprinkles, chocolate chips, candy canes, or M and M's, using their own ideas. One year we lit a candle on the cake letting each child or grandchild blow it out. We've substituted with a birthday pie a couple years with a candle.
Have a great Celebration!
Vehicle Magnets---Remind Others Of The Reason For The Christmas Season When You are Driving Out And About.
Decorations Including Baby Jesus, Holy Family, and Angels Are Ways To Remind Yourself And Others The Best Reason For The Christmas Celebration.
Santa Kneeling To Baby Jesus
This figurine is a good example for children to see Santa kneeling before the Christ child. I hope it teaches them Jesus is important and superior to Santa. The figurine Santa shows respect, love, and reverence toward Jesus, and a proper way to worship.
My daughter painted a figurine such as this when she was a young girl.
Keeping The Meaning Of The Season
Are you losing the true meaning of Christmas?
The custom of hanging outside lights year after year, shopping endlessly through long gift lists, cutting and hauling the perfect tree, decorating and baking. . . Doing so much. . . May sap our Christmas Joy. These are not bad things unless of course it causes your family (usually adults) to be overly stressed. I know they are traditions of the celebration most of us have grown up with. But, in all the hustle don't forget the most important reason for celebrating. Our Savior!
We can trim down or eliminate some preparations if we are stretched for time, or worn out. The real Christmas didn't start with so many shopping days left, nor a long list of tasks to complete.
Personally, we've cut down on the amount of gifts, amount of baking, and we don't hang outdoor lights. If you love doing these things, take time for it, making great family memories and traditions. It is a way to celebrate God's blessings in your life especially if focusing on Jesus Christ, the reason for the season.
Yet, others may feel stressed and tired or not have money for the extras.
They may even resent the holiday. Not only people who have aged but, younger people caught in the hurried rat race may view Christmas as a lot of work and may think, "Bah, humbug!"
Don't worry by thinking everything should be perfect.
(God's spirit of love and peace can return to you who have lost it, without you needing expensive or excessive luxuries or high positions. After all, Jesus' birth happened in a humble environment, a stable for animals. It wasn't an extravagant castle.)
One of the best ways to get the Christmas spirit is to help others less fortunate. Many charities will accept your help gratefully. More on that topic below.
I don't want the world to forget why we celebrate Christmas. It should not be demoted to just a "winter holiday".
Don't Miss Viewing The Star of Bethlehem.
The Star Of Bethlehem - Producer Stephen McEveety
I saw this DVD. It is not a movie, it is more like a documentary. It is both interesting and astounding in my opinion. Much research had been done before the making of this DVD in the areas of history, science, and the Bible. Viewers have been so impressed.
I would love to hear what you think after viewing it. It shows proof that the star of Bethlehem was a real event.
What Is The Reason For Christmas Being Silenced? - Listen to A Christmasy Song
This song is thought-provoking about how society is changing Christmas.
The Priests - Classical Singing Trio, From Ireland
Try the music sampler free. Listen to 30 seconds of each song on Amazon's page, the "Listen to All" button.
Ever have trouble sleeping? Try drifting off to sleep listening to soft Christmas music, especially Christian songs. They get me in a spiritual Christmas mood reflecting on Christ's birth.
Noel by The Priests - A Christmas CD Lifts Spirit
Hearing Christmas music, and especially music about the birth of Jesus gets me in a Christmassy mood. Noel by The Priests is just the album to do that.
I first saw the group, The Priests, perform on a PBS Christmas concert special on T.V. They are three Catholic priests from Ireland. This last year I was fortunate enough to see them in person during their tour of the USA.
I recommend their music. This album, Noel, has classic Christmas carols that I recognize and they sing beautifully.
The Holy Bible - The Good News!
A hardcover, revised editon. Makes a great gift!
The Birth Of Christ
One of the best ways to feel spiritual enrichment at Christmas is to read the Bible nativity narratives. This is a condensed story of Christmas in simple words.
God loved the world so much that he sent his only son. . . born in a stable for animals, to a young virgin. . . Mary, who was chosen by God. The angel Gabriel, God's messenger, had told Mary the baby was to be called Emmanuel, meaning God is with us.
Joseph, a righteous man, and Mary's spouse, had found no room for them to stay in the inn upon their arrival to the little town of Bethlehem. They were traveling to register for a census in Joseph's home region. Without the comforts of home, the baby Jesus, our Savior, came into this world in these humble surroundings. He was adored by Mary and Joseph, and to rest he was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid to sleep in the manger.
Let's bring Christ back into His rightful reign by honoring Him as our Savior, as we celebrate Christmas.
- Luke 1: 26-38 The angel Gabriel's message to Mary and her acceptance as handmaid of the Lord.
- Matt 1:18-25 How the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
- Matt 2:1-12 Visit of the Magi (3 Kings).
- Luke 2:1-14 Census enrollment, Joseph of House and City of David, The birth of Jesus.
- Luke 2: 8-20 Angels appearing to the shepherds, and visit of the shepherds to baby Jesus.
Bible Reading Tip for new readers:
The Bible is a library of books. (Matt is short for Matthew, one of the books of the gospels in the New Testament. To read Matt 1:18-25 find the The book of Matthew in the New Testament with index, then Chapter 1, Verses 18-25.) Sometimes, a comma is used between the chapter and the verse instead of a hyphen. Luke is Lk. Most books in the Bible are abbreviated to quote a scripture passage.
Look below for online Bible links:
Links For Reading The Bible Online
Eons Before The Savior's Birth, A Prophesy!
For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
The Bible: Isaiah 9:5
Here's a gift idea for a family or individual that you know would like this.
Finding Christmas Joy By Having Gratitude.
Having The Right Attitude!
Expressing gratitude can make you happy. To find something good and right in the world, and being thankful for it is satisfying.
- Telling God thanks is a great way to pray. We owe everything to God. Even things we've worked so hard to achieve that we think happened through all our own doing. I believe that isn't so that we are acting all on our own. Not completely! Ultimately, we owe our good health, our brains, our family, our friends and connections, our existence, all to God. God works in us and through us when we seek to do his will.
- Thank your family, and others.
- Share what you have to be thankful for.
- Giving: We are to be a reflection of Christ to others.
- Is it better to give or receive? Getting is good, giving may be better. Don't you feel good giving or helping others? Volunteering or giving to less fortunate can bring happiness.There are many charitable ways to give to others this holiday season. Remember they need help other times of the year, too.
People who volunteer to help other people appear happy. Even those who get paid for a job, if they believe the work they do has a good purpose, they are more satisfied.
Another Beautiful Work For Children By Max Lucado.
Beautiful writing and artwork. Ages 4-8. Introduces the characters of the Bible story before Jesus' birth and continues account of Jesus' life until His Baptism.
Religious Christmas Cards
If you find it hard to get Christmas cards in the stores with reference to the meaning of Christmas, look online. Here is a Nativity Christmas card.
If you have already chosen other cards, you can add your own note such as a blessing to the card's recipient, or a scripture verse if you'd like.
Read A Nativity Story To Young Children On Their Level - Here is a Favorite Advent Book, Too.
I loved to read stories to my children growing up, and now to grandchildren. Little preschoolers are very impressionable and pick up knowledge like a sponge. Pass on your faith to the young ones.
By a Homeschooling Mom. Teaches connection of holiday customs to Christmas. Includes Advent activities for Children.
Wishing You All A Blessed and Merry Christmas!
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