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Christmas

Celebrate Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes

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Ask any adult if they’re ready for Christmas, and they’ll likely respond with a groan. For what’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year,” December usually ends up being too busy, too chaotic, and too stressful to really enjoy. Children, on the other hand, are completely opposite. My kids have been counting down to Christmas since the middle of November. You can see the excitement and wonder in their eyes when they think about the holiday. Christmas for a child is what Christmas is really about—waiting in eager expectation. Our Heavenly Father has given us the perfect gift in His Son. We know that’s what Christmas is all about, but sometimes it’s hard to keep that focus when we think about everything on our to-do list before December 25. So here are a few links of Advent and Christmas activities you can do with your children (or on your own!), to remind you to take a step back and celebrate Christmas through a child’s eyes.

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Mary Had a Little Lamb

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Mary had a little Lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow.
Down from heav’n to earth it went
Salvation to bestow.
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Why I Don’t Do Christmas Anymore

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I’ve decided I’m not going to decorate for Christmas anymore. I made the mistake of putting up our tree with the kids this weekend, and it was a disaster. While I’d love to be instilling happy memories for the kids in our annual Christmas decorating, I’m afraid the opposite could well be true. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that there was much fighting, and in the end we had two broken ornaments and two children in tears. So much for quality family time. Who needs this, anyhow? So I’m done. No more decorating for me.

(Click here to continue reading the original post from the website Raising Godly Children.)

Countdown to Christmas

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There are 22 shopping days until Christmas (as of the posting of this blog). Xmasclock.com even has an official countdown, down to the second, if you’re really curious. And before then, there are presents to buy and wrap, cards to mail, decorating to do, cookies to bake, concerts to attend, parties to plan… Sigh. And all this in only 22 days? It’s enough to make a person want to curl up and hibernate until it’s all over. And in all the shuffle of the month of December, it’s very easy to lose sight of the season of the church year called Advent. Advent is a short season—only four weeks at most. And many of us would love to make Advent more meaningful if only there was time to do it. Well, good news. Here are a few links to activities that require no planning and very little time to incorporate them into your family’s routine:

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Christmas isn’t about pomp and pageantry. It’s not about the gifts or the feast or how many people are in church. Christmas is all about God’s grace.

Sure, we get that, but what does that mean? To get a full picture of “grace,” join me in taking a look at the word in Greek. In this article I wrote for the Concordia Publishing House blog “The Word Endures,” I explore the nuances of God Extending Grace to us at Christmas and beyond.

 

Photo is A Blessed Birth by Carol VanHook

Christmas Wouldn’t be Christmas Without the Tree

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Whether you put yours up the day after Thanksgiving or wait until Christmas Eve, the Christmas tree is one of the most ubiquitous symbols of Christmas. Nearly every household in America has at least one tree. We see them in yards, stores, schools, businesses, and town squares. There are tree lighting ceremonies in many towns. One might say that Christmas woudn’t be Christmas without the tree. And in a very real sense, that’s entirely true.

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Come, Lord Jesus

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Have you ever noticed that the Church year ends where it begins? We celebrated the Last Sunday of the Church Year yesterday, with an emphasis on the end times as we wait for Jesus’ coming. This flows naturally into Advent, with its emphasis on–you guessed it–waiting for Jesus’ coming. Even some of the hymns are interchangeable, equally acceptable for both occasions. “Savior of the Nations, Come,” “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending,” “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” and “Christ is Surely Coming,” show that we’re waiting for Jesus, whether His first advent at Christmas or His second advent when He returns. And let’s be honest. Waiting is hard for us.

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Confessions of a Christmas Hater

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(Author’s note: I originally wrote this article for the blog “Raising Godly Children,” and it was published on December 28, 2015.  I am including the first few paragraphs here and then a link back to the original article.)

I hate Christmas. I know, I know, that’s a terribly Grinch-like thing to say, but let me explain. I hate the pressure of Christmas and the general entitlement attitude in society regarding the holiday. We’re expected to decorate our houses, buy presents, hang lights, buy presents, send Christmas cards, buy presents, bake Christmas cookies, buy presents, and generally spread holiday merriment and cheer everywhere we go. Oh, did I mention buy presents? It’s enough to make a person’s head spin.

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Christmas without Christ

 

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Happy Holidays!  Season’s Greetings!

Our society is so exceedingly polite nowadays that we dare not offend anyone.  As a result, we tame down our felicitations so they mean next to nothing.  “Happy Holidays” could refer to Halloween and Thanksgiving.  “Season’s Greetings” could be referring to spring or summer.  So I’ll be blunt.  We’re coming up to Christmas.  And honestly, what’s the point of Christmas without Christ?

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