Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 

Make the reading of Luke 2:1-20, directly from the Bible, 
a special part of your family’s Christmas tradition. 
Gather everyone by the fire, or snuggle under blankets, and
share the story of the baby that changed the world!  


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Bing Crosby’s Yearly Reminder to Count our Blessings

My daughter and I have the special tradition of wrapping Christmas presents while watching the classic movie, White Christmas.  You know you’ve created a tradition when you look forward to it and it seems more awkward not to do it.  I love that my daughter now expects this as a fun part of our seasonal bonding! 

In the movie, Bing Crosby croons a song that sticks with us all year long.   I have used this media inspired teachable moment more than once at bedtime for the kids and myself!  (Click on picture to play the clip.)

 “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep,
Just count your blessings instead of sheep.
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”
– Irving Berlin

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is
God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


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Christmas Carols – Meaning and Craft

Have you ever spent much time thinking about the meaning of Christmas carols?  Snuggle up by the fire for family devotionals this month and enjoy using a resource like Christmas Carols for a Child’s Heart.  Follow up by surprising your family with the supplies to make Christmas Carol Ornaments. (Instructions and picture below.)

Preschool ideas/resource:
For a fun December preschool boredom buster, give your child some jingle bells (be careful because of the choking hazard) or some other shaker to play along with Christmas hymns or any Christmas music.  Have them shake high, low, soft, loud, in front of his tummy, behind his back, etc.  Play “Freeze” by stopping and starting the music and having the child freeze when the music is stopped.  I love Cedarmont productions for preschool Bible music –

School-age through teens idea (even crafty adults love this one!): 
Photocopy your favorite Christmas hymn.  Cut it into strips.  Feed the strips into a clear glass or plastic ornament.  Sets of these can be found a craft stores like Hobby Lobby.  Attach a ribbon and tag with the name of the carol for a bit of extra flare.  These make lovely gifts!


 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 
Psalm 95:1

For more Parenting with Scripture Christmas ideas, see

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The Gifting Gift

As we went through the Christmas season last year and participated in several means of donating or giving to those in need, I desired further the impact of these gifts in our hearts and minds.  That’s how we came up with the “Gifting Gift.”  Each time we participated in an way to give to others in need, we added a note about it in the box.   Amidst our brightly wrapped packages, this little box served as a reminder through December to lift up a prayer for those who are less fortunate.  On Christmas morning, we took time to open the Gifting Box and pray for each of the people the notes represented. 

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” 
Matthew 25:40

christmas box

If you are looking for child-friendly giving ideas, here are a couple of suggestions:
*Any age can help shop and put items in a wrapped box for Operation Christmas Child.  If you go somewhere like the dollar store, your child may wish to use some of his allowance money for several items.  Collection of these boxes is in November, but add “Operation Christmas Child Boy/Girl” notes in your Gifting Gift to remember to pray for them on Christmas day. 
*Any age can help you look through the on-line catalog of items available for donation through Food for the Poor, Samaritan’s Purse, or World Vision.   Our family had a set amount planned to spend, with the kids having decided a portion of their money as well.  Once in the catalog, it was neat to see how all of us desired to put in more once we saw the needs.  Each of our children found what item they would like to donate toward, based on their budget.  Then, our family picked one of a higher amount to sponsor together.  How cool is it that this ministry allows children here to know that they have just provided a rabbit, sports equipment, or a Bible lesson to a child across the world who wouldn’t have this help otherwise!;jsessionid=32B5ED710C9883356984CA749D08E53B.app367a?FOLDER=0&store_id=6061

For more Parenting with Scripture Christmas ideas, see

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Nativity Set Tradition

Years ago, my mom started an incredibly special Christmas present tradition for her grandchildren – giving handmade nativity sets from around the world!  Through her involvement in WOM (Women on Mission) at her church, she became aware of   Their mission statement begins, “World Crafts develops sustainable, fair-trade businesses among impoverished people around the world. Our vision is to offer an income with dignity and the hope of everlasting life to every person on earth.”  In buying their products, we are able to help make a difference across the world! 

This link is for their beautiful selection of nativity sets –  Prices range from 19.99 to 79.99 not including shipping.  One year, for a more budget friendly option, my mom substituted a lovely handmade card with nativity scene for each of the kids.  These come in sets so can be divided up.   I have known some of the nativities to sell out.  Thus, the early November post.  Get ’em while you can and mark your calendars for future years for a reminder to place an early order for best selection.

When family travelled internationally and brought back surprises, we added these sets to the collection.  As my kids’ collections grew, I began to get attached to them and requested a set for me and Tim as part of our Christmas presents also.  That way, when our kids head off on their own, they can take their sets and we’ll still have ours to enjoy displaying.  For now, we just put out one of each set and keep the others stored. 

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Luke 2:16

Christmas Decorations - '12


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Christmas in July!

Since we are half way through the summer and year and not amid the holiday rush, it’s a great time to consider getting the pieces together for an Advent Tree.  


The book we use (click to link to Amazon):

This has been such a blessing to our family!  It’s something we all look forward to during December, and it’s a tradition I know our children will want to continue with their own families.  We made a set with a group a couple of years ago.  This summer, a gal at our church has coordinated another group.  I’m going to make a second set so we can alternate each year and so I’ll have a set to pass along to each of my children. 

There are a several ways to go about making a set.  If you want to do it on your own, you could simply photocopy the pictures from the book we use, have your children color them, laminate them, and turn them into ornaments by hole punching and adding a ribbon or string.  Or, if you are looking for crafty projects this summer, you could make an ornament or two each day.  Another idea is to do a group swap.  It’s a fun way to involve friends and efficiently get it done.  25 people each take a day’s theme and make 25 of the same ornament.  Then, get together and swap ornaments so everyone ends up with a full set.  It’s neat seeing other people’s creativity.

I haven’t reviewed these books to be able to recommend them, but it looks like they’ve made the ornament making a bit easier if you are wanting to make them on your own.  (Click to link to Amazon.)


 Merry Christmas in July!


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Christmas Traditions: Helping Hand Tree

Help your family take stock of what you are doing to help others through this cute and easy Christmas craft/decoration.  Simply tape several sheets of brown construction paper (or brown grocery bags) together and then cut out the form of a triangular tree, plus a trunk. Then trace the hands of each family member, including mom and dad!  Tape the smaller hand-prints at the top, working down as the hands get bigger.  Discuss ways that your family is helping others and write them on the hand-prints.  Embellish with a yellow paper star at the top titled “(Last Name) Helping Hand Tree” and some related Bible verses at the bottom (see suggestions below.)

We created the one in the picture when my kids were preschoolers, but I’ve kept it with our Christmas decorations and we pull it out every year to hang in our game-room.  It serves as a good reminder of ways we can help others, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year.  We haven’t added to it in several years, but I think we will at some point this season for a family devotional.  Now that the kids are older and we have new ways of helping others, it will be interesting to hear their input and let them do the writing…and let them compare handprints to see how much they’ve grown!

Christmas Decorations - '12

“But encourage one another.”  Hebrews 3:13

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  2 Corinthians 9:7

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”  Acts 20:35

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Christmas Traditions: Luke 2 Memorization & Scavenger Hunt

As a little girl, my mom helped me memorize Luke 2…Charlie Brown Christmas style (aka King James Version).  It was always fun for me to be able to say the whole thing along with Linus.  As a mom myself, I’ve enjoying carrying on the tradition with my kiddos.  When they were younger, I’d keep a print out of Luke 2:8-14 ( in the car and we’d work on it during car time throughout December.   Each year, it would get easier and easier as they remembered it from the past.  Last year, my daughter encouraged us to add more from the chapter.  Now we are working on solidifying verses 1-7 and 15-20 (

Mix-it-Up Message Luke 2 Scavenger Hunt:
This idea works well for families or groups with children of all ages.   Print out a copy of Luke 2:1-20 from The Message version of the Bible.  I’ve pasted the passage below for your convenience.   Feel free to cut and paste into a Word Document to print.  Cut apart sections of the passage, making as many strips of verses as you wish, depending on how difficult or easy you want the activity to be.   Tape each strip to a popsicle stick (picture below).  Hide the sticks in the yard and then have the kids go on a scavenger hunt to find them.  Once gathered, the older children can work together to put them in order.  Then read The Message version out-loud while they check to see if they got the order correct.  Because my children are familiar with the KJV and NIV versions of Luke 2, it was fun for them to hear the more contemporary language version of the passage through The Message.  We particularly got a kick out of the term, “sheepherders.”  Guess the word, “shepherd” is outdated?!


Luke 2:1-20

The Message (MSG)

The Birth of Jesus

About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for.

So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them.

They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.”

They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing.

They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!



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Christmas Card Prayers

Anyone have Christmas cards still floating around the house?  We’ve enjoyed using ours during our family prayer times in the evenings this month.  If your kids are like mine, they tend to get in a rut and pray for the same people and things.  This idea has brought a much needed freshness as we each draw from the pile of cards each night and pray for the people represented by the cards.

Christmas Cards


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