As Christmas approaches it can be a challenge to focus on Jesus, the real reason for celebrating. God showed His love in such an amazing way. He became a human, lived, suffered and died in our place. Miraculously He rose again and wants to live in relationship with us!
I wrote Christmas is About Jesus: An Advent Devotional to help my family focus on Jesus in a busy season, a busy culture, that is often sending conflicting messages about what we are doing, or should be doing, and why. The links below are to posts I have done in the past that can enhance use of the devotions in the book or help you focus on Jesus even if you don’t have the book.
Blessings to you and your family this Christmas season!
- December 1 * Snowflakes
- December 2 * Snow
- December 3 * Ornaments
- December 4 * Candy Cane
- December 5 * St. Nicholas
- December 6 * Hats
- December 7 * Christmas Trees
- December 8 * Christmas Lights
- December 9 * Fruit
- December 10 * Cookies
- December 11 * Doves
- December 12 * Bells
- December 13 * Songs
- December 14 * Candles
- December 15 * Holly
- December 16 * Gifts
- December 17 * Wise Men
- December 18 * Stars
- December 19 * Sheep
- December 20 * Shepherds
- December 21 * Shepherd
- December 22 * Angels
- December 23 * Mary
- December 24 * Jesus
Preparing for Christmas can take on a life of its own. Some where in my past I became convinced that Christmas had to be “prefect”. Trouble is I wasn’t even sure what prefect was, I just knew I wasn’t, my home wasn’t, my children weren’t. So here’s this hoped for “prefect” season that does nothing but magnify my failings and I’m trying to sell my children the idea that Christmas is about Jesus.
Here’s my process for preparing to prepare for Christmas.
Evaluate expectations: Are my expectations from God?
Evaluate traditions. Does this bring God glory?
Ask kids what makes Christmas special to them.
I have more stirring on this. Just this for today.
The day to start counting down to the celebration of Jesus birth.
We didn’t start off so well. The book and ornaments only came in this afternoon.
Attitudes amongst the natives were far from festive this morning.
My daughter worked hard to begin the transformation. Maybe next year I’ll be more organized, better disciplined or whatever it is I’m lack so I can enjoy doing it with her instead of directing her while I’m busy with other things like school, making dinner, or blog posts.
I really do want to focus on Jesus.
We’ll read our devotion tonight.
Tomorrow I’ll ask the kids for their top Christmas wishes. I started this a few years ago when I was overwhelmed by my wish for a “perfect” Christmas. I asked what traditions were important to them, if there were any new ideas and we just focus on everyone’s top thing. If we get to more- bonus! I intended to ask this morning, but like I said, it was less than festive here…
How are you preparing to celebrate Jesus?
How is it going?
Surrounded by swirling, suffacating thoughts. Where is hope? As I push away the thoughts I see Jesus. He reminds me again He alone is my hope, not better circumstances, solutions, or less challenges. Only Jesus. As my roots grow deep in Him I can draw up hope and live.
- The Great Serum Race: Blazing the Iditarod Trail by Debbie S. Miller
- Paper plates
- hole punch
- decorations, we used beads, foam shapes, tissue paper, and crayons
- “Jesus is good medicine” sticker (optional)
The Iditarod dogsled race begins the first Saturday of March here in Alaska. It is a big deal. Many amazing athletes are involved, two and four legged ones. This book gives the history of the heroic events that inspired the Iditarod, a life-saving run of diphtheria serum from Anchorage to Nome in 1925.
If you want to learn more about the Iditarod Race here are a couple helpful sites.
Something special has happened the first Sunday of March for the last 5 years. A group called Carry the Cure takes the good news of Jesus love to the people who live along the Iditarod trail during the Iditarod. Alaska’s villages are struck with other epidemics today, ones not cured by any man-made serum. Our native people suffer some of the highest rates of suicide and abuse of all kinds in the country. Carry the Cure with the band Broken Walls goes into villages with a message of life and hope for all ages. They do school assemblies and concerts in native music and dress. One of their songs is Jesus Is Good Medicine. I could only find a recording of it on Facebook so I did not include a link. You can listen to samples of their music on their site.
Read the book.
- Discuss the amazing things that happened in the book.
- Discuss how different things work today.
- How is Jesus good medicine?
- What would it take to run a team of dogs in such harsh weather?
We made dance fans. Native Alaskans dance their stories, their history, and their faith. The women often use dance fans. The men often drum. Our dance fans don’t really resemble real ones but the kids had fun. You can decorate any way you like. I’ll explain what we did.
- Punch holes around the edge of the plate for the beads to run through.
- cut tissue paper in strips to staple around the top edge of the plate
- staple on foam shapes
- add stickers
I will no longer hope in the light at the end of the tunnel. The Light and my hope, Jesus, are with me in the tunnel.