By Jeanne and Jody Sledge
There is no doubt that we are very excited about spending our first Christmas together. We are looking forward to Christmas meals with family (on both sides). We are excited about getting gifts for others together. But we are most excited about remembering the story of the coming of our Savior into the world together and loving Him together. Here are seven ways that you can make Christmas more meaningful:
1. Cherish the Christmas Stories. Spend time this Christmas reading the birth stories of Matthew 1 – 2 and Luke 1 – 2. Study the songs that Luke’s characters sing. Study the prophecies that Matthew sees fulfilled in Christ. Talk about them with your family. Let the riches of these stories fill your hearts and minds. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, would be a great book to read this Christmas. Its by Nancy Guthrie and is a compilation of sermons and writing about the Christmas story.
2. Reach Out to the Needy. Spend time this Christmas remembering the poor, the orphans, and the widows. Don’t just give money or some toys. But invest your life. Talk with those in need. Pray for them. Listen to their stories. Let the compassion that lead Christ to come to the earth overflow from your acts of kindness and mercy.
3. Fellowship Deeply with the Church. Spend time – lots of time – with your brothers and sisters of the church. Have them in your home. Eat with them. Sing with them. Pray with them. Let the peace and love of the Christmas story fill our lives together. Use the Christmas holiday as a time to build up one another in the Lord.
4. Establish Traditions. Whether you are young or old, it is never too late to establish traditions. Make it a point this year to start a meaning tradition with you family – reading the Christmas stories together; serving meals to the poor on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day; baking a birthday cake for Jesus with your children or grandchildren. The possibilities are endless and can yield a rich and lasting blessedness to Christmas. Cherishing God in Our Traditions, by Noel Piper is a great book on traditions.
5. Be a Responsible Gift Giver. Christmas is not about the commercial exchanging of goods. Don’t go into debt to buys gifts. Don’t buy expensive gifts to appear wealthy or overly generous. Be careful how many gifts you give. We don’t want our children to equate the goodness of Christmas with the amount of presents they receive. Give responsibly.
6. Sing Christmas Songs. Find some good CDs with Christmas songs and carols – not songs about snow and Santa. Let your homes be filled with songs about the coming of our Lord into the world to save us. Check out the Andrew Peterson CD reviewed below. It might be the best Christmas CD ever.
7. Pray for the Nations. Spend time praying for the countries around the world. Let Christmas remind us that Jesus came to the earth to bring salvation to all peoples. Pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are persecuted and pray that the gospel would spread in power throughout all the earth. Check out Operation World a great book for praying for the nations, (There’s a new edition coming out in August 2010. You may want to wait and buy it then. It will have the most recent info about the world).