Christmas is coming! Folks all over the world are preparing to celebrate what for many is the most wonderful time of the year. "Happy holidays!" we say, often forgetting that the very word holiday is derived from Old English words for "holy day."
With all the busy-ness of preparing for our Christmas celebrations, though, it can be easy for us to miss the awe-inspiring holiness of Christmastime. Many traditions are connected to Christmastime, but none more important than the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Here are a few things we do to keep our focus on Christ at Christmas.
Our Christmas decorations are centered in our living room, which is where most of my cross collection is found.
One of the first things we put out every year is this Nativity set. It's an inexpensive porcelain set we purchased when our sons were very small. These figures have moved with us five times, and so far nothing has broken. I like displaying it here by the crosses, commemorating both the birth and the death of Jesus.
Other Nativity scenes can be found in our decorations, too, like this primitive wooden one:
It's on display in our living room, too. If you look closely, you can see that the figures are hot-glued onto the stable floor. I don't remember when I did that; I'm sure it's when the boys were very young.
This year we added these Nativity candles from DaySpring; aren't they beautiful? (I read about these at Nesting Place and ordered them from DaySpring.com; I'm not sure if they're still available.)
When my boys were small, we read lots of Christmas books. The boys loved books about Santa and Rudolph, of course, but they also loved B is for Bethlehem, The Legend of the Candy Cane, and The Crippled Lamb. Whenever I read The Crippled Lamb, one of the boys would look at me as I turned each page--to see if I was crying yet. They knew what was coming! I still get these books out each Christmas, and I read them again myself.
One of the most important things we do to keep Christ first and foremost in our Christmas celebrations is to gather with our church family. Our church's assistant pastor, Chris Breslin, wrote a Advent devotional book this year, and he told me that I could share it with you. If you need a good Advent devotional, click here to download one free of charge. There's also a kids' Advent devotional book. I get to help plan our church's candlelight Christmas Eve service, which is one of the most meaningful services of the year.
What do you do to keep the focus on Christ at Christmastime? Link a post about your Christmas decor, traditions, favorite books--anything that's special to you. If you've written a a Christmas devotional, I'd love to read that, too! Be sure to link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. And please include a link to this party. (If you don't have a blog, feel free to link to a Facebook post or leave a comment describing your traditions--I'd love to hear from you!)