Monday, November 19, 2012

13 Ways to Keep CHRIST in Christmas

1) Give a gift to God this Christmas.

Don't you think He deserves one, too?

Give the gift of something personal that nobody else needs to know about. It can be a bad habit, a sinful desire, something you have been putting more of your time, effort, and heart into before God (idolatry), forgiving someone, or even sacrificing more time each day to spend with Him.

2) Give more gifts of service to others.

Whether it's family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or strangers, doing good deeds for those around you is one of the best ways to live out your faith, gratitude, and love this Christmas.

Spend time with them. Be helpful. Offer to clean the dishes after dinner. Be genuinely interested in their lives and getting to know them better. Share the love of Jesus Christ with them.

3) Be extra thankful and humble, especially Christmas day.

Always remember that Christmas is not about the presents. It's about the act of giving, love, kindness, gratitude, family, hope, and most importantly, the birth of Jesus Christ.

Show your family and friends how thankful you are for what they gave you, whether the gift was big or small, expensive or homemade. Be thankful for what you already have and grateful for anything you receive on Christmas day. Many people, even in America, do not have the luxury of getting Christmas gifts due to poverty or crisis.

4) Give a "Blessings Bag" to the homeless.

Giving to the poor or homeless never required giving money. Give them a bag of love and hope, in Jesus' name.

Click here to see what items to put in the bag.

5) "Adopt an Angel" from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.

Pick a boy or girl angel off the tree of any age and buy the present they have wished for. Their parent's cannot afford buying Christmas gifts for them, therefore Salvation Army stepped in to help by hosting the Angel Tree Christmas campaign.

Find one at a local mall near you, or there may be areas in your hometown (such as grocery store, bank, chamber of commerce, etc) that is hosting a tree for local kids in your area.

Click here to find malls near you that are hosting an Angel Tree.

6) Have a birthday cake for Jesus!

It is his birthday, after all. He deserves a cake that celebrates His precious birth. It serves not only as a delicious cake to eat during Christmas time, but also serves as a REMINDER that Christmas is HIS birthday, not about Santa and getting a lot of presents.

Sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, or listen to this special song as you cut the cake: click here.

7) Attend Christmas Eve service (and Christmas Day service if applicable).

Christmas Eve service is usually a candlelight service held in the evening that focuses on Jesus with hymns of praise. There is usually not a sermon, but is filled with Christmas songs, scripture readings, and prayer.

8) Attend a Christmas play at a local church or theatre. 

I'm not talking about "The Nutcracker."

Find a local church or theatre that will be conducting a Christmas play that focuses on the nativity story and birth of Jesus. These are usually done very well and really bring forth a joyful Christmas spirit.

I highly recommend your family getting tickets and/or attending these plays if available. Invite lost neighbors and friends...they will really enjoy it and hear a great message.

9) Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

Jesus loved and cared for the needy, poor, homeless, and broken. He wants us all to do the same for them, too.

Care for and serve others in need this winter, and do it in Jesus' name. Do it for Him, not to show off to everyone that you are doing a charitable service, because God sees the intentions of your heart and despises boastful attitudes and wrong intentions.

10) Read the Nativity Story from the Bible on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve.

This is a tradition in my extended family to read this story before we exchange gifts.

If you have small children, waking up Christmas morning is always exciting and joyful, so read the story after the gifts to remind them what Christmas is really all about and that presents are symbols of a generous, loving, and giving heart, just as Jesus has done for us.

11) Set up a Nativity Scene in your home. 

Whether it's a large display in your front yard or a small display in the entryway of your home, doing this reminds everyone of the birth of Jesus every time they see it.

12) Donate canned goods to the local food drive. 

Go into your pantry and gather up canned goods and non-perishable items to donate to your local food drive or homeless shelter. Do this with a cheerful and generous heart, in Jesus' name.

13) Say "Merry Christmas!"
Today, many shops and advertisements are saying "Happy Holidays" to keep non-Christians or other religions from getting "offended"......well, it offends us when they don't say "Merry Christmas!"

Sadly, it is hard to find stores and commercials that say "Merry Christmas" these days, so it is our job as Christians to reinforce "Merry Christmas" without shame or fear of what others think.

Next time a cashier or someone you meet says "Happy Holidays" to you, say "Merry Christmas" back.