Thursday, December 18, 2014

Preparing for Christmas

Christmas is a time to give not receive.  It is about the greatest gift ever given to the world, the birth, life and death of the Savior Jesus Christ.

Because we give gifts at Christmas to each other, my children quickly forget about giving and thing only of what they will receive.  To combat this selfish mentality, I help my children prepare for Christmas by making gifts and thinking of others.

How We Combat Excessive Selfishness:

  1. Make Gifts - The children who get deeply involved in a project that requires their time and efforts invest of themselves at Christmas.  They get excited about giving.  This year we have some who are beading, others who are making things out of paper mache or popsicle sticks.  One of my kids is making a rocket ship for his brother.  Another made a tunnel for the trains to drive through.  See pictures below.
  2. Spread the Spirit of Christ - The children were encouraged to attend rehearsals and perform in a community choir singing Handel’s Messiah.  One of my kids accompanied the singers with her flute.  A few weeks later, the youth went out caroling and sang hymns of the season to all the town.
  3. Dramatize the Nativity - We love to gather our children together to read the story of Jesus’ birth and dramatize the major events.  This year we participated in a live nativity with others from our church and our baby was chosen to be the Baby Jesus.  It was an amazing experience.
  4. Service Projects - My daughter and I joined a bunch of women in sewing baby blankets for the local hospital maternity ward.  These soft blankets will be given to the mothers of new babies to keep them warm.  There are always ways to help those in the community who are struggling financially.  We try to help where we can.
  5. Gratitude - We make an effort to thank teachers, neighbors and friends who make our lives rich as they go about their tasks.  It is easy to take others for granted until you have a bad experience and then you realize how good it is to be surrounded by loving people.
  6. Giving the Gift of Time - I have so many things I need to do as a mother of a large family at this time of year.  I sometimes get crabby when all of my kids need my attention at once.  By giving of my time to help them, I remember that my focus is others, not myself.
  7. Read Together - The Christmas children’s literature abounds with beautiful messages that can add honey to our hearts.  I like to take time to read to the children my favorite stories, like Why the Chimes Rang by Raymond MacDonald Alden.
  8. Offer Christ our Hearts - There is only one thing we can give Him that he doesn’t already have, our broken and contrite hearts.
Do you feel the Christmas spirit? What strategies to you use to create intentional Christmas traditions?
Unfinished Paper Mache Cave for Concealing Toy Dragons

DIY Insert to Convert a Diaper Bag into a Camera Bag

Pretend Play Rocket

Thomas Train Tunnel

Popsicle Stick Ornament

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