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Making Christmas real as a family

As another year winds down, I hope you share my gratitude for God’s most precious gifts … unmerited forgiveness made possible through Christ’s sacrifice, and the gift of family. The Christmas season is a time to enjoy your friends and loved ones, to celebrate and reflect.

Here’s my encouragement to you on how build memories while making Christmas real.

  1. BRING into your home favorite traditions, music, movies or decorations that get to the heart of Christmas –  the birth of Christ and the generosity of God. At the heart of Christmas are giving and love. We love because he first loved us (I John 4:7-19). We give because He first gave to us the unmerited gift of His presence and love through Emmanuel, “God with us.
    making Christmas realOne of our cherished traditions with our children was to build a small manger, and draw names. The goal was to do anonymous acts of kindness for each other several times a day for the weeks leading up to Christmas. For each act, a piece of  straw would be be placed into the manger to create a bed to soften it in preparation for the Christ child. It isn’t just a great visual picture. With each act of kindness, we were making December an especially enjoyable and peaceful month. And that’s saying a lot considering our family of four rambunctious boys. Most importantly, we were honoring God’s gift to us through our kind acts toward one another.
  2. SEEK opportunities to extend gifts of grace and kindness in your personal interactions. Give people a break, say thanks, and show appreciation. Tell your busy wife or emotional teen something special that you notice about them and why you appreciate them. Overcome the busyness of the season with simple gestures of kindness and affirmation toward others. These acts are as welcome as a hot mug of cocoa on a bitter cold day.
  3. HELP others in need. Look for ways to comfort those who’ve lost a loved one, bring hope to those who’ve lost a job. Be there for single parents, and reach out to someone who is homeless or alone with no place to go for the holidays. Preparing a holiday gift package for a family in need or a child with a parent in prison is something that’s most likely available through local ministries in your area.
  4. STAY focused on what’s most important and be intentional about being together as a family. Don’t get distracted and miss time with your family. Don’t be about perfection; rather enjoy the journey of celebrating together. And above all, don’t miss the opportunity as a family to worship the God who gives every perfect gift, remembering His most perfect gift was sending His Son, whose birth we celebrate.

If you have a favorite Christmas tradition, story, or way your family serves, share it with us in the comments below!

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