November 5, 2011

Preparing for the Holidays: "Keeping Christ in Christmas"

A long time ago (not that long ago, but it seems that way for me) I did a series featuring the book Queen of the Castle.  I thought since baby is here (or will be here soon...I'm scheduling these posts out) that I'd recap the holiday part of the book.  So every Wednesday you'll get some great tips on prepping your heart and home for the holidays.
(I know this isn't Wednesday, but I wanted to stick this in the mix because it's very important!)

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For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 45 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.

This week's chapter is "Keeping Christ in Christmas".  Decorating, gifts, visiting with family and friends is how most of us spend our Christmas celebration time.   It's fun but we don't want to squeeze Christ right out of Christmas. Author Lynn writes "I will have enough time to meditate on Jesus and His coming if I begin early, before the season creeps up on me like a stealthy teenager ready to pounce from a darkened laundry room with a heart-stopping "BOO!".  These weeks really are a time of preparing our hearts..."

Lynn shared that she went through a Bible study on Luke during Christmas.  Might I suggest Beth Moore's Jesus, the One and Only to prepare your hearts for this time of year and to focus on why He came.  Lynn suggests reading a chapter of Luke each day of December, ending with the last chapter, chapter 24, on Christmas Eve.

Here are a few more suggestions:

*Purchase an Advent calendar.  Look for one that has the Nativity scene with Scripture readings behind each window.  Or you can do something super simple like I have on my etsy site HERE.

*Read about Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42), a perfect story for this time of year when our preoccupation with to-do lists can crowd out time with God.  Like Mary, we need to listen at his feet...even if it means not getting all the cards out in the mail.

*Consider how your Christmas tree decorations can point to Christ.  Select symbols that tell the Christmas story or are a reminder of Christ's life: angels, bells, candy canes, lambs, hearts, doves, candles, stars.  Top it off with a crown of thorns to really emphasize the meaning of Christmas.

*Play Christmas carols that tell the story of Christ.  Focus on the words.  (Last year we listened a lot to one of the radio stations that played all sorts of Christmas...some good, some I remember from my child hood, and some just plain silly.  I don't think I'll be doing that this year.  For our family it seemed to take away the focus on Christ.)

*Start praying now for your family to focus on the real reason behind this season; not the gifts, the decor, the yummy treats.  Focus on Him.

I'll end this post with a message from Lynn...
If you've never asked God into your life, to forgive you of your sins and make you His child, you can do it right now.  It doesn't take special, fancy words.  All it takes is a humble heart that's willing to admit that you miss the mark, that you are not perfect, that you are a sinner.  You recognize that He is holy, that you cannot live up to His standard of holiness, and that you need Him.  You recognize that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment that should have been yours, for your sin.  And you want His forgiveness.  You want Him to be in charge of your life from now on.  You accept the gift of eternal life He offers you through Jesus Christ.  That's it.  It's as simple as that.  

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"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, 
and all these things will be added to you."  Matthew 6:33

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