It’s hard to believe it’s already Christmas time again. This year has brought its own share of complications and difficulties with it. While we may be adapting to new circumstances, the joy of the Christmas season is still here. What are some ways we can celebrate Christmas, while faithfully honoring the true purpose of the season, to celebrate the birth of Jesus? The Christmas story we know so well begins with announcement, followed by anticipation, and is concluded with the arrival of Jesus.
Christmas is ushered in with announcements. Mary and Joseph would not have understood their situation, or the great role they played in history, had it not been for the announcements of the angels (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:26-31). Luke even began his gospel account by talking about the birth of John the Baptist, because he understood the role that John the Baptist was to play in preparing the way for the Lord (Isaiah 40:3).
Today, we can all prepare the way for the Lord with how we bring His message to the world around us. Christmas gives us a good time of the year to connect the holiday with its meaning. While many people may look forward to Christmas with eager anticipation, we can connect that excitement with the excitement that Simeon and Anna had for the coming of Christ (Luke 2:35-38). How can you drum up excitement for Christmas, while sharing a gospel message? You could use a traditional advent calendar such as:
- Happy Birthday Jesus Family Advent Calendar
- The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: An Interactive Family Celebration of Advent
- Nativity Advent Calendar
Note: Some products mentioned may only be available at your local Mardel store.
You might even try something different this year, such as The Giving Manger. This new advent tradition encourages a spirit of giving and servitude. Simply set up the manger, and set the straw next to it. As members of your family complete kind deeds or acts of service during the advent season, they can place a piece of straw in the manger. As the straw fills up the manger, you can all acknowledge the wonderful ways you have prepared for Christmas. On Christmas day, place the baby Jesus figure in the manger and look at how all the acts of service and love support the Savior in the manger.
After you have made the announcements, and let people know that the exciting Christmas season is drawing near, how can you maintain enthusiasm for the journey ahead? For Mary and Joseph, the angelic announcement of the coming of Christ was just the first step. They also had a journey to make to get to Bethlehem (Luke 2:4), and the same goes for the shepherds (Luke 2:15) and wise men (Matthew 2:9). Especially for the shepherds and wise men, they had to choose to pursue the path to find Jesus. The same will go for everyone you invite, they must ultimately make the choice to find Him.
As the Christmas season draws to its close, you can take the time to invite friends and family to any special Christmas service your church may have. You can gather together with loved ones to sing Christmas carols. Even with the changes this year brings, you may have to get creative with virtual Christmas caroling. As you are thinking of songs to sing with your family, you might explore the devotional, Hosanna in Excelsis, which explores the meaning of beloved Christmas carols. You could also read classic Christmas related stories with your family, and ask questions about how they relate to the overall Christmas message. A Classic Christmas includes Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol along with other treasured favorites. Create a new family tradition of looking back at classic works.
Of course, as the days draw nearer, you will want to open up your Bible to turn to the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke to read through the accounts of the birth of Christ. Share the central message of Christmas with those you love. Perhaps you will want to save this tradition for Christmas morning before opening presents, or Christmas Eve before going to bed. Keep the children engaged by asking questions, and having them retell the story in their own words.
The most remarkable thing about Christmas is that Jesus came to earth, and that’s something we can always celebrate; no matter what is going on in the world, or what obstacles stand in our way.
We know we have a Savior and He’s here to stay.