We are already beginning to hear the Christmas music in the background. Cities are decorating their downtown areas. Major retailers have multiple tree options sitting by the door as we enter. Ready or not, the hustle and bustle is just around the corner.
One challenge with all the events and expectations of Christmas is keeping Christ in the middle of it. We will include Thanksgiving in this conversation as well since some people put their Christmas decorations up well before Thanksgiving (confession, including me). Several things can be done to keep Christ in the center of our Christmas celebrations, and we want to focus on two or those ideas.
A Thanksgiving Jar
Those of us who already have our Christmas decorations up can look past Thanksgiving, but our Christmastime should also be dominated with thankfulness. The idea of a Thanksgiving Jar came from my daughter. She keeps this jar on her kitchen table, and she and her family drop in pieces of paper inscribed with what they are thankful for throughout the month of November. They are not supposed to tell each other what they have written, but that is not always a hard and fast rule. They can also write a Bible verse that was especially helpful that day. Once Thanksgiving arrives, they will then open the jar and review the slips of paper inside. You could also invite other branches of your family to utilize their own Thanksgiving Jars and then open all the jars together at your family gatherings.
During this month, Explore the Bible: Kids will look at Peter’s letters. Explore the Bible: Students and Explore the Bible: Adults will look at Colossians. Both studies remind us to live godly in response to God’s grace being provided through faith in Jesus. We can add the memory verses from the study into our Thanksgiving Jar to remind us of ways our actions and attitudes are to be expressions of gratitude to God for His forgiveness.
Using a Family Advent Guide
The Lifeway Kids team created a free Family Advent Guide that includes weekly readings, discussion starters, and activities. Each weekly devotion is designed to lead our family to open their Bibles, discuss the Bible passage, pray together, and create special memories. The guide is designed to help us focus on one big idea each week with the big ideas being hope, joy, love, and peace with God and with others. This year’s guide includes weekly Family Connection Cards we can use to go deeper in family conversations and search out additional Scripture verses. We can use the extra verses throughout the week at daily family prayer times.
We can use this guide with the others who live in our house or with extended family members who join us through the week…especially grandkids! Get your copy here.