GUEST POST by Jonathan McKee has become a regular guest blogger on this site! He is the author of numerous books including the brand new Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, as well as youth ministry books like Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. You can find his excellent blog here.
As December progresses, and the business of the holiday creep in… sometime Jesus gets shoved out.
Don’t worry, I’m not being a Scrooge. I love Christmas decorations, hot cider and presents as much as Ralphie loves his Red Ryder B.B. gun. I just don’t want those things to get in the way of the greatest present we’ve ever received… the birth of a baby who would make not only change history, but would save us all.
Here’s 5 simple ways to put Christ back in Christmas this December:
1. Read the story. Start reading the book of Matthew or the book of Luke together—each begins with the Christmas story. It doesn’t matter when you read it. My family is currently doing it after dinner while we’re still gathered around the table. We probably only have family dinners 4 or 5 times a week, because of busy schedules, but that still gives us 4 or 5 chapters a week. Who knows… maybe the habit will stick and you can finish Luke and move on to the book of Acts in January.
2. Choose to serve. Find a way that your family can serve together during the holidays. A few years ago my family decided to each choose an activity we’d do during the holiday break. One of us chose to go downtown and pass out McDonalds gift certificates to homeless people. Another chose to call up the local mission and serve in the soup line. The possibilities are endless. Find a way to get your hands dirty and help the “least of my brethren” this Christmas.
3. Give. Gather together as a family and choose an individual, a missionary or a ministry to give a special gift to this Christmas. World Vision has a great gift catalog where your family can choose to buy a goat for a needy family overseas. Your city probably has some great missions that feed the needy. Or you might know a family in need in your church or neighborhood. I remember a few years ago when a family in our church was really struggling and didn’t have any money for presents for the kids, or groceries, for that matter. Our family pooled together a few hundred dollars and bought some Wal Mart gift cards, giving it to the family anonymously.
4. Tell the story. About 5 to 7 years ago, I gave my kids a challenge. I told them: “On Christmas day, each of us are going to tell the Christmas story in some unique way. You can use art, drama, technology. No rules. Just choose a creative way to tell the true Christmas story. I dressed up as a Shepherd with a Jersey accent and told the Christmas story first person. My daughters teamed up and did a play. My son drew. Each of us told the story using our own gifts.
5. Experience the story. This is a good one for all you kinesthetic learners who like to learn by doing and experiencing. Some towns offer live manger scenes where people act out the Christmas story. Some churches have Christmas plays. If you don’t have these available, then go outside under the stars, light a candle and read the story of the shepherds (Luke 2). Worse case… rent the movie The Nativity. Just do something where you can see, hear, and maybe even experience the Christmas story.
Question: What about you? What are some ways that you have put Christ back in Christmas? Oh, do share right here!