Here are 3 simple ways to keep Christ in Christmas this year, and every year afterwards.
When your to-do list is a mile long, finding a moment to embrace the joy of the holidays together can feel impossible. Angel Tree is all about connecting families, and they want to help yours, too. Angel Tree has developed a free e-devotional with reflections and prayers for the whole family, delivered daily to your inbox this Advent. Sign up here, and take your Christmas back. So what is Angel Tree? We often speak about people who do good things for others as being an angel, although we recognize that they’re not really angels, but their good works put them in good company, so how can you keep Christ in Christmas? By becoming an angel, or being an angel for God here on earth by supporting Angel Tree, which is a prison ministry that ministers to the needs of prisoners families, particularly children, to give them the Christmas they might never have otherwise. Families of prisoners often suffer quietly and silently, most people not even thinking of them, but children of prisoners often suffer the most by having little or nothing for Christmas. It’s bad enough when adults have no Christmas, but when it hits children, it hurts even worse, so why not be an angel in the hands of God and help these children by supporting Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree, but even if you don’t, make sure and sign up for their free e-devotional, a devotional for the entire family that will be sure to keep Christ in Christmas this year.
Read the Christmas Story
It probably sounds too simple, but one way to keep Christ as the central focus of Christmas is to read the Christmas story at home. Perhaps the Gospel of Luke has the finest as it’s the longest and most detailed account. For example, Luke records Gabriel announcing to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:29-30). Later, Luke writes about “shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8-11), and they said, “this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2:12-14). These verses often end up on Christmas cards, but they should be read at Christmas time too, perhaps even Christmas Eve, and let the Word of God teach children why Jesus came to earth and was born of a virgin. There is nothing like reading the actual Christmas story in the Bible. What might even make it more special is reading the Christmas story with Christmas music playing softly in the background? And but don’t for prophecies of Jesus from the Old Testament, like Isaiah 7:14 which says “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” and “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel” (Matthew 2:6; Micah 5:2; John 7:42).
Worship in Song
Occasionally, when no one else is at home, I worship God in song, but there’s something special about a worshipping God in Christmas music. One the greatest worship songs of all time are Handel’s Messiah. This song is among the most recognizable songs on earth, and it’s because the words speak of the glory of God coming down from heaven, while singing, “Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, and “The kingdom of this world; Is become The kingdom of our Lord” as “King of kings, forever and ever, and he shall reign forever and ever.” Maybe you can find the lyrics to one of the most popular and inspiring Christmas song of all time, like, “O Holy Night” and the “goose bump” moment when they sing, “Fall on your knees….hear the angels sing.” You can make it even more special if you make copies of the lyrics so that you or your whole family can sing along. Songs like O Come Emmanuel, which has special meaning for the Jews, as they sing, “O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear,” so Israel, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.” And even the classic, Silent Night, which moves the soul with sing-a-longs like, “Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright. Round yon Virgin, Mother, and Child. Holy infant so tender and mild,” and announcing “Christ the Savior is born.” What a beautiful way to keep Christ in Christmas, or if He’s been missing, put Christ back into Christmas.
Jesus once said that what we do for others, we do for Him, and on one of those tasks the Lord has designated us to help the poor, the thirsty, the naked, the hungry, make strangers feel welcome, and visit those in prisons and hospitals (Matt 25:35-36), because when you do these things for others, you are doing them for Christ. Jesus Himself said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40), so think about helping families this Christmas by prisoners families celebrate a Christmas they would otherwise not have, but also don’t forget to sign up for Angel Tree’s free e-devotional with reflections and prayers for the whole family, delivered daily to your inbox this Advent. It can help put Christ back into Christmas…right where He belongs.
What traditions do you do to keep Christ in Christmas each year? Comment to encourage others….