I truly hope you have been blessed so far by the “Cultivating a Christ-Centered Christmas” series. Today we will look at how we can cultivate an atmosphere of worship throughout the Christmas season.
Worshipping the Messiah King
Christmas Eve Service- Make your church’s Christmas Eve Service a focal point of your Christmas tradition. If you have children, build up the excitement of going to the special Christmas service where you will worship the Messiah King with your church family. Make time for the service and plan your other activities around it, so as not to be rushed and simply adding more “activities” to your night. Candlelight Service Photo Credit
Incorporate Christmas Hymns into your family devotion times and play Christ-exalting Christmas Carols in your home throughout the Christmas season. Christmas Carols for a Kid’s Heart is a great devotional resource containing sheet music as well as an accompanying CD.
The First Gift Tradition- Wrap a box that can be used every Christmas and fill it with white index cards that read “Jesus blessed me this year by…” (or something to this effect). Fill out as many cards as you want individually and then place them in the box on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning open the box and read them out loud to one another reminding each other of the many blessings our Messiah King has bestowed on us. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving to our giving Lord for all the many gifts he has given us (including the gifts you are about to open). Pray that he would cultivate thankful and mindful hearts in each of us. Open each other’s gifts with the desire to bless others because we have been so richly blessed.
Save the cards from each year by tying them up in ribbon and leaving them at the bottom of the box. Throughout the Christmas Season take a peak at old cards!
What we do: This is the first year we will be incorporating this tradition into our Christmas. I plan to write “Jesus I thank and worship you because…” on each of the cards so that our gift to Jesus is filled with praises to him (what he truly desires).
Rejoice! Make Christmas morning a very special and exciting day by making a lavish breakfast lighting lots of candles and singing loud worship music to the Messiah who has “arrived.” Consider waking before your children wake up (I know…) so they can see that you are thrilled to celebrate Christ’s birth. In this way you can capture their hearts and minds before they even begin to think about presents. Burst into their rooms singing “Good Christian men, rejoice with heart and soul, and voice; Give ye heed to what we say: News! News! Jesus Christ is born today; Ox and ass before Him bow; and He is in the manger now. Christ is born today! Christ is born today!” Then lead them to your tree to give Jesus your gift of praise!
What we do: Our special Christmas song is Born is the King (It’s Christmas) by Hillsong. This upbeat celebration is perfect for our little boys and gets blasted in our home often during the Christmas season (we just can’t keep it in until Christmas morning!).
Shepherd’s Pouches- Cultivate a giving spirit in your children’s hearts by encouraging them to collect spare change or allowance money (provide opportunities for them to earn money) during the Christmas season. Hang “Shepherd’s Pouches” rather than stockings and allow them to fill them up with money for Christ (their gifts of praise to him). Tell them that you will put all of the money together when Christmas arrives and donate it to the church, a charity, a needy family you know, or use it to send your Compassion child a special Christmas gift. Christmas Eve night, exchange the money for small trinkets that you would normally put in a stocking.
Don’t forget to have a Shepherd’s Pouch for Mom and Dad too! Let your children see your desire to worship Christ as well. Giving your money to someone or sending it off to a charity on Christmas day would be an excellent way to make the experience more realistic to younger children (even if the Post Office isn’t open you can put it in a drop box). Leather Pouch Photo Credit
Consider limiting the amount of Christmas gifts you give to your children in order to help them focus less on material things. Some use a “three gift” rule mimicking the frankincense, gold, and myrrh brought by the wise men to Jesus.
What we do: we have a one present tradition, that we hope to build on as our children grow and are able to make/buy gifts for their siblings (we also ask that extended family use temperance in their gift buying though we don’t put a number limit on them!).
Some larger families have a “Night of the Giver” for every person in their family where each person is assigned a night when they are able to give the gifts they have made/bought to each of their family members. (If you have four members in your family you have four nights of gift giving.) This helps to cultivate an attitude of giving rather than receiving. Christmas Eve and Day are then reserved to celebrate Christ, our ultimate gift and no gifts are exchanged.
Cut out Santa- I will share more on Santa during the month of December, but for now let me just say this: Allow your children to be thankful to the true Giver of Gifts rather than a fictitious person who will only distract from your worship of the Lord. Use the gifts from family and friends to teach your children about our great God who blesses us, so that we can in turn bless others.