A Faith-filled Family Christmas

Preparations for the Christmas season begin right after Thanksgiving. Christmas decorations in all shapes, sizes, and colors adorn store shelves just in time for the after-Thanksgiving Day sales rush. Moms and Dads line up for miles outside toy stores, rain or shine, to be the first to buy the hottest new item. By Christmas morning grown ups don’t even want to get out of bed to celebrate the day. This year instead of preparing our wallets and pocketbooks, let’s prepare our hearts to usher in the Christmas season with our families in a faith-affirming way.

Family Worship
The season of Advent (which means arrival) begins the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and extends through four Sundays. Advent celebrates the coming of the Christ child into the world and the significance of this event in the lives of every Christian.

The Advent wreath, the centerpiece of worship, consists of a small wreath (real or artificial), evergreen sprigs, five candleholders, and five candles. Three of the candles can be purple or deep blue, one is traditionally pink or rose-colored, and the fifth candle is white. The candles are arranged in a circular fashion inside the wreath with the white candle, usually called the Christ candle, in the center of the other four.

Worship time can be set aside each Sunday before church or later in the evening before bedtime. Family members can take turns each week lighting the candles and reading a devotional and prayer. A few moments can be set aside for any questions that younger family members may want to ask about the celebration.

Family Fun
Holidays are a time for people to get out and celebrate with family and friends. As a family, host a “Christmas for Christ” party. Involve the whole family in the planning. The central theme, of course, is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Have the children create their own special invitations. Invite Christian and non-Christian friends alike. Do the shopping for game prizes at this time too. If a lot of activities are planned, start early enough to fit everything into the evening.

To defray some costs, have guests each bring a dish and serve a buffet-style meal. Since decorations will already be hung for Christmas, no extra fanfare is needed. If a costume party sounds fun, have guests dress as a person from the nativity scene. Prizes can be given for the best costumes. The games that are chosen should revolve around the theme. People love trivia games, charades, and puzzles at parties. Let the kids take charge of the games while parents organize the buffet.

Don’t forget to end the night as well as you started. No Christmas gathering is complete without dessert, singing of carols, and the telling of the Christmas story. Sharing your faith with your family should be special and fun. You will create Christmas traditions that will be enjoyed for years to come.

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