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I have been really wanting to do an eBook or series about the importance of keeping our hearts focused on Christ through the Christmas season. In our society of abundance and plenty, it’s so easy to be swept away by the current of commercialism. Like my pastor reminded us on Sunday while preaching about Daniel, it’s much easier to go with the flow of things. But we can’t do that. As Christians we have to fight against a society that turns this blessed day into a day about shopping and dollars and who can accumulate the most things.
I haven’t gotten that book written, and it doesn’t look like that will happen for this year. So, I decided to do the next best thing and share some other resources with you. Here are some of the things we do to keep our hearts centered on Jesus at this time (some of them will be expanded on in later posts!).
There really is no season for this–we should do it all year round! However, this is a season during which we are especially tempted to get turned around. It’s tempting to focus on our own Christmas wish lists (or those of our own family), more than the wishes of others. It’s easy to focus on all the lights, decorations, and fancy packages more than the hearts and needs of those around us. For this reason, I think humbling ourselves to serve others is especially important during this time.
Check out my friend Sheila from Pennies of Time for some great ideas for serving with your little ones!
Keep it Simple
Christmas is a simple affair for us. We make a conscious effort to focus on that baby in a manger more than we focus on gifts, and for that reason, we don’t “do” Santa. We also don’t do hundreds of dollars worth of gifts. Last year, we had a blessed, happy Christmas, and we spent around $15-$20 on each child. We bought things on sale or clearance. We bought one larger item and a few smaller ones, including things they needed like toothpaste, etc. (Yes, toothpaste. My boys are still at that young, sweet age where even toothpaste is a fun gift for them! Love that!)
We don’t feel comfortable spending tons of money on gifts while people are starving. It just doesn’t set well on our hearts, so we do what God has led us to do in this area. And He convicts different people in different ways.
You can see our Advent and Christmas Countdown in this post. But basically we do a devotion and a candy countdown each day. We use this tabletop advent calendar from Dayspring. It’s from last year and we just love it! You can get it now for only $7.49 :)
They have a new one this year, from their Redeeming Love line, and you can find it here. It’s $14.99, but will probably go on sale :)
The candy/box countdown we use is this one from Karen Foster that I decorated back in my scrapbooking days.
You can also check out this great list of printable nativity activities for more ideas for little ones. And, my friend Heather from Cultivated Lives (www.heatherhaupt.com) has this great post about giving and serving at Christmas (even if it doesn’t come naturally to you).
The first book we turn to is our Bible. We make the Christmas story a focus on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and other times during the holiday season. We try to make sure that everything points toward Him. This post has gotten a bit lengthy, so I’m going to save my list of kid books for another post :)
eBooks & Giveaway
Today, I have a great giveaway of 4 resources that fellow bloggers have put together to help you in keeping Christ front and center in your holiday celebrations.
In the spirit of pointing everything toward Him, one of the sponsors of today’s giveaway is my friend Lori from Everyday Truth. She has written an eBook called Everyday Christmas, where she gives tons of great ideas and object lessons for helping your children focus on Jesus throughout the holiday season.
Amy from Homeschool Encouragement has written an Advent devotion for families to do together, called Celebrate Jesus. She set out looking for one for her own family and nothing met her needs, so she created her own. It’s full of songs, activities, daily Bible readings, copy work, etc.
My friend Heather from Upside Down Homeschooling has written this fantastic kids devotion called My Christmas Wish. WISH is an acronym for the daily activities (write, investigate, share, and hear), and the book is 15 days, and written for ages 4-12, but could be adapted for others. Heather has generously provided a discount code for us! Use the code “joyfully” to get $1 off the sale price, making it only $1.99! The code is good through 11/11.
Penny is providing a copy of her family Bible study, Christ in Christmas which contains devotions and activities for keeping your family Christ-centered. She has also provided a discount code. Use code “E364K741” to get 25% off anything in her store, good through 11/30.
Each of the above ladies has generously provided a copy of her resource for giveaway! So, one lucky winner will receive a copy of all 4 books!
Giveaways Rules: US Residents 18 and Older only may enter. No purchase necessary. This giveaway is not associated with or endorsed by Facebook or Twitter. The giveaway ends Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST.The winner will be notified on Thursday November 14, 2013 and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. All entries are verified. Serving Joyfully is not responsible/liable for prize delivery. Good Luck!!