‘Tis the Season

The turkey is carved and eaten, and December is already here.  You hear the music in the speakers at the mall, you smell the peppermint in coffee shops all around, and you see the tree stands resurrected for business on nearly every corner.  The Christmas season is in full swing!

Maybe you’ve been scoffing at the decor on store shelves for weeks, or you’re boycotting peppermint mochas this year.  Maybe you clicked the last lid on your leftovers tupperware, stuck it in the fridge, and made a break for the attic to retrieve the decorations.  Maybe you sigh because your calendar is already full of gatherings, travel, and parties for work.  Well here’s a few things to ADD to your list (and definitely check these twice), because we all need a little more of Jesus’ presence this season.

Here are a few things you can do to celebrate the season with the real Priority in mind.  This is not an exhaustive list.  If you have other traditions or resources to share, please do!  The more the merrier!

1) This year, our family is doing “#NTDAdvent”, a daily advent devotional put out by blogger mom Jess Connolly at Naptime Diaries.  It has a daily scripture reading + a devotional.  If you buy the mini prints, you’ll get a series of beautiful picture cards with scripture or song to hang wherever you please.  We’ve hung ours in our kitchen to keep us focused on the real reason for the season.  They are my favorite decoration this year.  Check out http://www.naptimediariesshop.com/collections/advent for the devotional and prints in her shop AND follow @naptimediaries or the hashtag #NTDadvent on Instagram.  Bonus material and family activities are included with the devotional!

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2) Follow the latest devotional at She Reads Truth.  It’s a daily devotional that you can read on your computer or smartphone and it is a 28-day series entitled “O Come Let Us Adore Him”.  Check it out here: http://shereadstruth.com/category/plans/adore-him/

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3) My sister and brother in law and their kiddos kicked off the season using Ann Voskamp’s book “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas”.  They have daily activities for families to do to celebrate Christ entering into the world.  Today my sweet niece and nephew wrote “Thank You Letters to God” as a part of Day 3.  Follow the hashtag #unwrappingthegreatestgift on Instagram for inspiration, check our her book on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Unwrapping-Greatest-Gift-Celebration-Christmas/dp/1414397542), and be sure to check out Ann’s website for additional resources (http://www.aholyexperience.com/thegreatestchristmas/).  There are great ideas for adults, too, if you don’t have children, or if yours have flown the coop 🙂

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4) Make a Jesse Tree.  While Ann Voskamp’s book and activities are based on the idea of the Jesse Tree, there are lots of places to download or buy daily ornaments to use for decoration on your own tree.  Let your kids color, read some scripture and talk about significance the symbol – each ornament is a symbol that represents an important piece of the story of the coming Christ and ends with a fully decorated tree!

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5) Make room for family time!  Not reinventing the wheel here.  Jacksonville Moms Blog has an AWESOME post outlining things to do in Jax during the holidays!  Check it out here: http://www.jaxmomsblog.com/in-around-jax/guide-holiday-events-jacksonville-2014/ OR check out places to cruise around Jacksonville and see some Christmas lights here: http://www.jaxmomsblog.com/in-around-jax/cruising-christmas-lights-jacksonville/ (Note: this was written last year, but was reposted this year, so I am assuming that all locations given still apply.  Also note: pack snacks).

6) Put up a nativity!  Don’t just set it out like a Mistletoe-scented candle or hang it like an ornament – savor it.  Pray as you put it up.  Talk about the story with your family, roommates, etc. Get the kids involved! (I let my 20 month old break the ear off of one of our lambs this year because I just couldn’t tell him to “get away from the nativity”).  Or you can do like my dad does every year and make a crazy strange nativity out of palm tree pieces and get your neighbors to knock on your door and ask about it!

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Do you have any Christmas traditions to keep Christ a part of the center or the season?  Please do share!


 

{This article was written by Laura Wilson.  Laura is wife to Aaron and mommy to a sweet and silly little boy.  She serves with Chets Women by leading the Communications team.  As a mom and pediatric speech language pathologist, she carries an artillery of cheerios and toys everywhere she goes.  She loves learning more about the Lord from his word, her family, and Starbucks.}

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