Thursday, December 20, 2012

Harried Christmas

For some reason, this has been the most hurried and harried Christmas I have experienced. I have been so overwhelmed and stressed about so many little things, mostly things that are out of my control. I have been depending on my own strength and energy, which doesn't go too far, instead of on God's. I have been worried and anxious about the unimportant things instead of sitting at Jesus' feet. I am not enjoying being a "Martha". Its tiring. I have missed so many opportunities to share Christ and his birth with my kids. I have looked at Christmas the way the world does instead of the way I should be as a believer, as a time of worshipping my Savior. And I have known all that in my head for a while, but have not done anything to fix it.

Today I read a quote from Chris Tomlin on Facebook. "The first Christmas gift ever given was worship. Still think it's the best gift we can give." In all its simplicity, it has made a huge change in me today. I have been trying to worship as I go through this busy day of volunteering, making Christmas gifts for my husbands staff, cleaning house for my son's birthday party tonight and a doctor's appointment thrown in. When I've caught myself having a panic moment, I have just said "I worship you Lord. For who you are, not what you have done for me, but who you are." And then I think of some things He is, faithful, patient, glorious, comforting, holy, etc. It has really helped to calm me down. And I have forced myself to sing Christmas carols with the radio. Somehow singing about Jesus has also brought me back to reality. All of the minor details that are stressing me out have no eternal significance. But how I turn my stress back to my Father and lay it at his throne might.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Do you need a smile?

If you have 3 minutes, please watch this adorable video. This is a sweet little friend of mine in our PDO that I lead music for. When I'm doing music with her class, she always watches intently, but never sings. But her momma put this on Facebook and it literally made me cry. I am so thankful for this reminder of why I do what I do. Meet Nora.

In case you couldn't understand, "What did the cow in the manger say to Baby Jesus in the Hay? Moo, moo, moo, moo, Baby Jesus we love you." Then the sheep and donkey.
(Her momma did give me permission to share.)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Keeping Christ in Your Child's Christmas

Here is a combination of the best ideas from last year's 3 part posts of ideas for keeping Christ in your Child's Christmas.

  • Use an advent calendar to count off the days. There are ones with Bible verses for each day, or symbols for each day of the Christmas story, a paper chain where a chain is taken off each day.
  • Go with your extended family to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. UBC has a family friendly service at 4:30 with live animals!
  • Make a birthday cake for baby Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to Him. 
  • Wait to put baby Jesus in the nativity scenes until Christmas Eve. You can have the baby Jesus wrapped up in a gift box, and let that be the first gift that they open on Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning. Or take Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus out of your manger scene, take Mary and Joseph as far away from the manger as you can, and each day of December move them closer and closer until Christmas Eve they arrive at the manger! And then baby Jesus joins them Christmas morning!
  • Buy or kids can make something as a birthday/Christmas gift for Jesus. Wrap it and put it under the tree for Jesus. Unwrap it on Christmas morning, and then over the years you can look at His gifts and talk about them together.
  • Invite Jesus to Christmas celebrations by setting out an extra place setting for Him. It would be cute to have a dress up gold crown and set it on His plate!!
  • Read the Christmas story from Luke 2 before you open presents.
  • Allow your children to choose from the World Vision catalog a special extra gift to buy and pray a blessing over. You can get things like mosquito netting or goats.
  • Keep a basket of Christmas books about Jesus around for children to have access to.
  • Have a child friendly nativity set that children can play with. Buy one for new babies as a sweet first Christmas gift.
  • Do something good for others: sing at a nursing home, buy gifts for a family in need, make cookies for a neighbor or do something personal for a family member. Talk to your kids about how helping others is pleasing in God’s sight.
  • Have your children reenact the Christmas story, dressing up like shepherds, Mary and Joseph, or the angels.
  • At dinner, read Christmas cards that are received each day. Pray for those who sent the card.
  • Write a Christmas letter to a missionary. Many missionaries are unable to travel home for the holidays, so it can be a very lonely time for them. 
  • Hang a Christmas stocking for Christ. You could hang up a white stocking for Christ, and on Christmas Eve every member of the family could insert a piece of paper listing their gift to Christ this year. Examples: being nicer to others, praying more often, etc. 
  • Other websites with ideas: