Category Archives: nativity

A Christ-Centered Christmas – Shepherd and Sheep

Today I thought I’d tie in two nativity characters discussed in A Christ-Centered Christmas, the shepherd and the sheep.  After the shepherds heard the news of Jesus’ birth, they told others and spread the glorious news.  This can be likened to us sharing our testimonies with others.  One fun activity we like to do is make Candy Cane Cookies.

They may not be perfect and they may not look like Martha Stewart made them, but we always have fun as a family and they taste delicious.

The figure of the sheep in the nativity represents a true follower of Christ.  Prior to reading this book, I hadn’t ever really thought much about Simeon or Anna in relation to the Christmas story.  However, I discovered a couple things that incorporate them in with the traditional nativity.  One is an advent calendar from Chocolate on my Cranium.  I also found a beautiful video clip of Simeon and the Christ Child in the temple.

Younger children may not understand the significance of the tender mercies for Simeon and Anna in finally seeing the Christ Child after sharing their testimonies of his divinity.  For them, you could do a fun craft that was part of our 12 Days of Christmas last year.

 We started with a simple cloud shaped outline on a piece of paper, then glued cotton balls over the shape, even adding a second layer, if desired.  Add small strips of paper for legs and small beads for the eyes.

I encourage you to spend a few minutes pondering the meaning of the shepherd and the sheep this year.  Maybe you’d like to incorporate these activities in your celebrations.

A Christ-Centered Christmas: Angel

When did most of December disappear from the calendar?  I can’t believe Christmas is less than a week away.  Being my usual procrastinating self, I still have 5 more sections of A Christ-Centered Christmas to share and 6 days in which to share them with you.  That’s cutting it a bit close.  Anyway, today’s section is focused on the angel.

The angels brought the shepherds news of the Savior’s birth.  They didn’t just whisper this news to one or two and expect the message to eventually get passed along to all.  They proclaimed the news with glory.  As part of your Christmas celebration, make some time to enjoy some carols, either listening or singing.  I have happy memories of the few years when we had a big extended family sing-along at my grandparents’ house.  Several of my dad’s cousins and their families all gathered together and we spent the evening singing Christmas music as well as munching on treats and visiting.  More recently, I remember the Christmas we spent with almost all of my siblings and their families after one brother’s wedding.  It was great fun to be together on Christmas Eve singing and reminiscing until we were surprised by a visit from Santa.

A great way to finish off your night of music (in whatever form) is with a hot, steamy mug of hot cocoa.  Did you know you can make flavored hot cocoa with Kool-Aid?  Add 1 packet of raspberry or cherry Kool-Aid to about 4 cups of hot cocoa powder.  Mix well.  Use 2-3 tablespoons and 6-8 ounces of hot water.  Stir together and enjoy!

A Christ-Centered Christmas – Joseph

I’ve fallen off-track with my posts about the different sections in A Christ-Centered Christmas.  The next section is about Joseph.  To me, Joseph is an example of service.  He didn’t have a lot of money and means to provide for his wife.  Their journey to Bethlehem probably wasn’t easily affordable.  He couldn’t afford to rent affordable accommodations for Mary.

There’s another book I like that goes along with Joseph and remembering that allowing others to serve you is just as important as the need to serve others. 

This story is a fictional account of Hannah, the innkeeper’s wife that acted as midwife to help Mary during her delivery.  I think it’s a very touching story of service.

I contemplated service on Saturday as Mr. Adventure and I volunteered for a shift as bell ringers for the Salvation Army.  I’ve tried to earnestly look for opportunities to serve over the past year or so.  Plus, I’ve tried to include my children in my desires to give to others to help instill that spirit of service in them.

Have you done anything service-oriented this holiday season?  What’s the best service you’ve given or received recently?

A Christ-Centered Christmas: Mary

As promised in my giveaway post highlighting A Christ-Centered Christmas, I’m sharing ways you can incorporate the gist of the ideas into your Christmas celebrations.  Today’s focus is on Mary.

The first time I ever remember really pondering Mary and her role as the mother of the Savior was 12 years ago.  Mr. Adventure was only a few months old and we spent many hours during the middle of the night, just the two of us bathed in the lights from our tree.  This certainly wasn’t the first Christmas I had had a baby in my arms, but I think I related much more to Mary while holding my first son.

 Last year we were given this book as part of our pondering of Mary.  The text is simply the wording of the popular song with stunning artwork to accompany each phrase.

I continued my pondering on my own and wondered if Mary had any inkling of the greatness and good her son would do in his lifetime and throughout all time as Savior of the World?  Did her mother’s intuition give her any grasp of the influence her tiny baby would have in his community and the world?  She had been told that He would be the Son of God, but i wonder if she truly understood exactly what this entailed?  What was her day to day life like?  What did she do to teach her son about his divine role?

Have you ever take time to ponder Mary?  I’d love to hear any insights or thoughts you might have.  Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of A Christ-Centered Christmas.